The Perfect Workout for a Recovery Day

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Ward off muscle soreness with this low-impact, low-intensity routine that you can do at home.

recovery day

After finishing a challenging workout that leaves you sweaty and perhaps a little sore, your instinct may be to skip activity entirely the next day or two. But that might backfire.

A better idea: gentle exercise to help your body recover. In fact, low-impact cardio exercise like walking increases blood flow throughout the body, helping to clear up inflammation—one of the suspected culprits of post-workout muscle soreness. Add exercises that help you move your muscles and joints through an easy range of motion, and you’ve got a great low-impact, low-intensity plan.

For your next recovery day, try this light routine that you can do without leaving your house.

How to Use the Recovery Workout

All you need is open space, and you can repeat this sequence up to two to three times. As you move, remember that your goal is to do so gently, not to push yourself as hard as you can.

As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Recovery Exercise #1: March in Place

March gently for 2 minutes

How to do it: Stand tall facing a wall, kitchen counter, or back of a sturdy chair, holding on for support if needed.

From here, raise one knee as high as you comfortably can, making sure not to tilt your trunk as you do so. Pause, then lower your leg to the starting position. Repeat with your opposite leg. March gently for two minutes, resting as needed.

Another option: If you have more time, walk outdoors for 10 minutes. Aim to relax your muscles so your walk becomes more of a flow. Relax your shoulders down and back away from your ears, and let your arms and legs swing freely.

Recovery Exercise #2: Alternating Reach

Alternate sides for 30 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

Reach to the left with your right arm overhead. Then reach to the right with your left arm overhead.

Reach to the left with your right arm across your chest. Then reach to the right with your left arm across your chest.

As you move your upper body, pivot your feet. Repeat for 30 seconds, resting as needed.

Make it easier: If it’s uncomfortable to reach overhead, alternate reaching across your chest.

Recovery Exercise #3: Side-to-Side Squat

Alternate sides for 30 seconds

Subscribe to our newsletter
It's quick and easy. You could be one of the 13 million people who are eligible.
Already a member? Click to discover our 15,000+ participating locations.

Follow Us

How to do it: Stand with your feet wide. Make sure you feel steady and balanced, adjusting your feet until you feel comfortable. Clasp your hands in front of your chest, and brace your core.

Moving with control, bend your left knee, and sit back, keeping your right leg straight and your core strong. Return to center, and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat for 30 seconds, resting as needed.

Make it easier: Position your arms wherever they feel most comfortable. You can rest them on your hips or hold a wall for support.

Recovery Exercise #4: Hamstring Curl

Alternate sides for 30 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms overhead. Bend your right leg, bringing your heel toward your glutes as you pull your arms down. Lower your right leg and raise your arms back down to the starting position, and then repeat with your left leg. Repeat for 30 seconds, resting as needed.

Make it easier: Keep your hands on your hips or down by your sides, and focus on the footwork first. Once you’re comfortable, you can add the arm movements.

Take Your Favorite SilverSneakers Classes Online!

SilverSneakers members can access live fitness classes and wellness workshops through SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest schedule and RSVP for classes here.

Not a member? If you have a Medicare Plan, it may include SilverSneakers—at no additional cost. Check your eligibility instantly here.