What is Active Recovery?
What is Active Recovery?
What is Active Recovery?

What is Active Recovery?

Explore ways to help repair, support and optimize the recovery process for your body.

Last Updated: February 23, 2023
Contributor: Kristin Rondeau

What Does Active Recovery Mean?


Active recovery can be described very simply as low intensity exercise or movement that is used to help the body recover following strenuous or high impact workouts or activity. There are many reasons why active recovery is thought to be more effective and beneficial to the body’s healing process, as it helps keep blood flowing and is thought to support in the reduction of inflammation or swelling in the muscles and tissue.


What’s The Difference Between Passive Recovery and Active Recovery?


muscle pain


Passive recovery means to be resting completely, sitting or inactive; essentially, the body is at a full stop. Though active recovery is thought to be very beneficial in reducing soreness and speeding up overall recovery time, there is a time and place for passive recovery, too. If you were to experience injury or pain, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s needs and take it slow; you might even consider reaching out to a trusted coach, training partner or medical professional for advice. If you’re experiencing only the expected general soreness that follows a tough workout, active recovery is typically considered the better option.


Examples of Low Impact Exercises to Support Active Recovery


There are many different forms of movement that can be employed to support an active recovery day. You’ll want to focus on movement that is different from what you typically do when exerting yourself to maximum output; if your typical strenuous workout includes heavy weight lifting, you’d want to choose an active recovery exercise like stretching or lifting significantly lighter weights, for example. Here are some popular low intensity movement options:

  • Yoga or light stretching. This can be supportive of lengthening and toning while also helping to increase blood flow to the muscles
  • Swimming. This is a great low intensity exercise that is easy on both your muscles and joints, while still allowing you to to stretch out your body and flow through a gentle workout
  • Walking. Often considered one of the best active recovery workouts, brisk walking can enhance blood flow and ease soreness. Even a 10-15 minute stroll helps to promote healthy circulation and reduce stiffness
  • Cycling. An easy bike ride at a leisurely pace allows your body to move while putting very little pressure on your joints. It’s an excellent way to support active recovery and can be done indoors (with a stationary bike) or outdoors

Products to Help Support an Active Recovery Day


aroma om diffuser white


Topical products to support reducing soreness, inflammation and tenderness in the body post-exercise are an excellent way to treat both your body and mind to the healing power of plants. You can choose a number of product formats according to your needs and preferences, and rest assured knowing you’re making natural choices to support your wellness. Some of our top picks include:

  1. Extra Strength - stimulate your muscles with the warming benefits of sweet birch and the cooling properties of peppermint. Roll generously onto areas you feel sore or stiff, like shoulders, knees and calves
  2. Stress Release - soothe yourself with the calming, grounding properties of lavender, roman chamomile and clary sage. Roll onto temples and wrists to envelop yourself in peace
  3. Aroma Om diffuser - breathe refreshed air and give your environment a boost with a cleansing and revitalizing air diffuser. Pair with an invigorating blend of citrus like Liquid Sunshine or create zen with a chill-out blend like floral and herbaceous Unwind
  4. Pain Release - mist over areas that feel tight or tense and experience the relieving benefits of warming essential oils like rosemary and marjoram

Overall Benefits of Active Recovery




Many people report feeling less soreness and stiffness once engaging in active recovery movement, and may even find side benefits like increased energy levels, better sleep and lessened fatigue. It’s worth noting that you can try any number of activities both post-workout or on ‘off’ days until you find the most effective and fulfilling active recovery exercises to meet your recovery and lifestyle goals. You’ll increase your chances of a successful active recovery program once you’re engaged in movement and activities you feel you can sustain in the long term.

Kristin Rondeau
Kristin Rondeau
National Educator
Naturally curious and a passionate advocate for a plant-based lifestyle, Kristin’s goal through education is to invite us into reflection and contemplation in deciding what wellness means to each of us individually. A former Torontonian now based out of Vancouver, Kristin is an avid student of crystal energy work, breathwork, meditation and aromatherapy, with a deep-seated affinity for houseplants and exploration of the West Coast.
Extra Strength
Stress Release
Aroma Om®
Liquid Sunshine®
Pain Release