Although there’s nothing like that spike of endorphins you get from good old-fashioned running, you might need a different exercise strategy if you’re dealing with pain, injury, or fatigue. The good news is that cross-training can be highly beneficial in maintaining your aerobic performance, overall fitness, and health. Whether you’ve injured a foot, knee, or hip, or simply want to try something different, there are a few low-impact exercises that can provide you the break you need while mixing things up. As always, check with a doctor before you start these low impact exercises, especially if you’re faced with recurrent pain or an injury.
Try These Low Impact Exercises
Swimming: If it’s warm outside, or if you have access to an indoor pool, swimming is an ideal exercise that works out all the muscles in your body while giving your joints a break. By sticking to a regular swimming routine you can still stay in shape during your break from high-impact exercises.
Cycling: From indoor stationary bikes to riding outdoors, cycling works some of the biggest muscles in your body to get that heart rate up without the same stress on your joints and shins as running. You’ll be surprised to know that cycling can even work out your core muscles, which can increase your strength for upper-body exercises.
The Elliptical: Ellipticals are one of the more popular low-impact exercise options, because they allow you to perform the same motion as running—and without stress to the joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, elliptical machines provide a workout that closely compares to jogging. Keeping up with a regular training schedule should help you maintain your fitness level.
Walking: If all else fails or you become tired of other low-impact exercises, walking is just as effective as running when it comes to certain health benefits. Although it may take you longer, you’re still helping to prevent hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The secret is to walk for the same total distance as you would run.