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After an intense and strenuous workout, we’ve all faced a slow, painful recovery. Often, we are led to believe that the best recovery method is to be inactive and rest for your muscles to recover. 

This may not be true, though. While it’s not necessarily recommended to perform back-to-back strenuous workouts, evidence suggests that performing a light exercise can help muscles recover too. Commonly referred to as active recovery. 

Throughout this article, we’ll go through everything there is to know about active recovery.

Starting with what it is, how it works, how you can perform active recovery, and even how CBD may be able to help with active recovery, too. 

What Is Active Recovery? 

Active recovery is the term used to describe performing a low-intensity workout after a high-intensity workout to help your muscles recover. Active recovery workouts can include walking, yoga, swimming, or a light jog. 

How Active Recovery Works 

Now that we’ve explained what active recovery consists of, you’re probably wondering how it works. Well, it’s pretty straightforward. 

After a strenuous workout, particularly during passive recovery when the body is entirely at rest, the production of blood lactate increases hydrogen ions in the body, which leads to muscle soreness and fatigue. 

Active recovery helps combat the build-up of blood lactate as it maintains blood pumping through our muscles, thus, decreasing muscle soreness and speeding up recovery. 

Active Recovery: The Pros

So let’s run through some of the benefits of active recovery workouts. Now that we’ve understood how and why it works, let’s look at what that translates to.

These benefits are taken from a 2018 study investigating post-exercise recovery techniques: 

  • Increasing blood flow through your muscles after your high-intensity workout
  • Preventing muscles from contracting
  • Eliminating toxins from within your muscles
  • Preventing lactic build-up
  • Combating soreness and helping you maintain your workout routine

How To Incorporate Active Recovery Into Your Routine

If you’re someone who keeps active, it shouldn’t be too tricky to incorporate active recovery workouts into your routine. By nature, a warm down can be seen as active recovery.

Involving low-intensity, regular exercises can combat lactic acid build-up in your muscles to reduce soreness post-workout. 

It can also be performed later in the day or in the morning after a workout. It can be done in a wide range of different ways; however, the most common can ways are yoga, swimming, or walking. 

Examples of Active Recovery Workouts


Yoga has dramatically increased in popularity as we’ve learned more about the benefits it can promote.

From helping with mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, it’s also believed to improve posture, regulate blood sugar levels, and aid with musculoskeletal pain. 

For this reason, as its nature leads to stretching and activating all muscular groups, it increases blood flow through your muscles and acts as active recovery. 


Swimming provides an excellent method of practicing active recovery exercises. By nature, swimming causes you to use all muscle groups in the body, increasing blood flow to fight lactic acid buildup.

It’s also low-impact, so that it won’t place too much strain on your body. 


Walking is undoubtedly one of the most popular forms of low-intensity exercise, and it’s all thanks to its accessibility.

It’s simple for anybody to begin going on walks, increasing distance each time to improve fitness.

It also carries multiple benefits that include improving sleep quality, reducing anxiety, and activating various muscle groups. 

Foam Roller Self-Myofascial Release

Using a foam roller can also be used to perform a type of active recovery workout.

Practicing this can help combat tightness, reduce inflammation, decrease soreness, and improve the range of movement of a given area. 

How CBD Can Help With Active Recovery

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a substance found in the makeup of the cannabis plant.

In recent years, we’ve learned more about how CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system.

For example, we’ve known that mainly when applied topically in roll-on gels, creams, and ointments, it can help soothe muscle soreness. 

When used in this way, CBD gets absorbed through the skin on a target area to restore and repair muscle after workouts.

Incorporating this with active recovery workouts can provide the perfect method of shortening your repair time and decreasing soreness and tightness. 

Some Final Thoughts

Whether or not you’ve considered active recovery workouts before or not, it’s fair to say they’re worth trying. Evidence suggests that it’s even more effective in muscle repair than passive recovery. 

With that said, it may not be for everyone.

In fact, for the more injury-prone athletes out there, it’s essential to listen to your body. If injured or exhausted, either physically or mentally, it’s best to seek medical advice and avoid active recovery until any pain or discomfort has gone. 

Overall, though, we’ve run through the basics of active recovery and the way CBD can work synergistically alongside it to improve the repairing process of your muscles post-workout.

For those involved in the first instance, it shouldn’t prove too challenging to incorporate into your life and can most definitely help your overall performance. 


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