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Whether you’re training for a half-marathon or regularly find yourself pumping iron at the gym, recovery should be a part of your routine. 

Giving your body time to rest is crucial. Rest days let your body recover and grow stronger, and ignoring your body’s need for recovery is a sure way to end up injured or overtrained. If you get injured, you won’t be able to work out at all. 

Maximize the effectiveness of your “on” days with the help of these recovery tools.

Tools for recovery

While it’s essential to take full rest days as needed — we all need a bit of R&R on the couch sometimes — active rest days are a vital part of a comprehensive fitness regimen. Be proactive on non-workout days and reap the benefits of feeling fully recovered the next time you lace up your shoes or visit the gym.

Stretch your tight muscles

Best Gaiam Yoga Mat

Gaiam Yoga Mat

Strike a pose and flow into the downward dog to loosen up tight muscles. Yoga is a low-impact activity perfect for rest-day recovery. Improving your flexibility has long-term benefits, too. This is a budget mat with a comfortable 6-millimeter-thick surface. Use it for stretching, weight training or meditation.

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Light strengthening

JAKKOFOXX Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

Jakkofoxx Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

Resistance bands are suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts alike. Use bands to strengthen your muscles or help deepen your stretches while you do yoga. This pack of bands offers extra-light to heavy resistance. If you’re a frequent traveler, grab your favorite band and use it to work out on the go.

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DIY deep tissue massage

Hyperice Hypervolt GO Deep Tissue Percussion Massage Gun

Hyperice Hypervolt Go Deep Tissue Percussion Massage Gun

Consistent use of your muscles strengthens them, but without attention, they’ll become tight and inflexible over time. Treat yourself to the occasional sports massage, and have some tools on hand for self-massage post-workout and on non-exercise days. This intense massager uses vibrations to relax muscles and speed recovery. 

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SKLZ Foot Massage Ball

SKLZ Foot Massage Ball

This is a 2.5-inch sphere that’s great for anyone with sore feet or plantar fasciitis. If you’re a runner or spend a lot of time on your feet, this should be a part of your recovery routine. 

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Best Yes4All Medium-Density Round Foam Roller

Yes4All Medium-Density Round Foam Roller

Rolling your calves, hamstrings and buttocks on a dense grid of foam feels a bit like torture with a side of sweet relief, but we promise: it’s totally worth it. It’ll reach deep into those big muscles you frequently use to smooth out knots and loosen you up. 

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Add compression

Best FuelMeFoot Copper Compression Socks

FuelMeFoot Copper Compression Socks

There’s still a bit of a debate surrounding this type of gear, but many athletes swear by compression clothing. FuelMeFoot is one of the biggest names in compressive athleticwear. Don compression socks during workouts when your calves are feeling stiff and post-sweat sessions to reduce the chance of delayed-onset muscle soreness. 

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Best CompressionZ Compression Pants

CompressionZ Compression Pants

The brand also makes compression tights that wrap up both legs with compressive pressure. They’re ideal after a long bike ride or run, or any workout that’s leg-heavy. They improve blood flow and decrease recovery times.

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Fuel right

Vega Nutrition Sport Protein

Vega Nutrition Sport Protein

If you’re struggling to consume the correct amount of protein on a plant-based diet, try adding a plant-powered protein powder to your morning smoothie. A single serving of Vega’s sport-specific powder has a whopping 30 grams of protein and includes a mix of amino acids to replenish your body’s stores.

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RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt

RxBar Chocolate Sea Salt

Nourish your body with enough protein and carbs post-workout to ensure your muscles have plenty of energy and building blocks to repair themselves. If liquid protein isn’t your jam, try a tasty bar. RxBar’s packaging delivers straightforward information about its ingredients, so you can feel good about what you’re eating. Bars contain 12 grams of protein and 5 of fiber to help with digestion. 

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Best Centrum MultiGummies Gummy Multivitamin for Adults

Centrum MultiGummies Gummy Multivitamin for Adults

Ideally, your diet provides your body with the required essential vitamins and minerals. Sometimes, it’s tough to fuel to perfection, and a deficiency may lead to decreased performance. Start your morning with a high-quality multivitamin to stave off nutrient deficiencies.

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Best Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Bottle with Flex Cap

Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Bottle with Flex Cap

Being even slightly dehydrated affects your athletic performance by a significant margin. Of course, it’s important to hydrate during hard or long efforts, but often people are dehydrated before they even begin their workouts. Buy a quality water bottle — the Hydro Flask has insulative properties and a durable design — and keep it close throughout the day. Bring your water bottle everywhere, and you’ll learn to pay closer attention to your body’s thirst signals.

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Best Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets

It’s also crucial to keep electrolyte levels in check. Drinking too much water leads to hyponatremia, which occurs when your blood’s  sodium levels are too low. During extra-long or hard efforts, pop an electrolyte tablet into your bottle to keep your levels in check, prevent cramping, improve performance and encourage speedy recovery times. 

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Steph Coelho writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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