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Low-Impact Exercises to Supplement Your Running Program

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low-impact exercises

Why would you want to supplement running with low-impact activities? Running is considered to be high-impact, and this means it has an increased risk for certain foot and ankle injuries. At the same time, however, there are numerous benefits that can be realized from this popular form of exercise.

To reduce your injury risk while at the same time capitalizing on those benefits, one of the best practices is to cross-train. In doing so, you will still run for 3-4 days per week, but then you will use different activities for conditioning on the other days. These alternative activities will be ones that fall within the “low-impact” category.

So, what exactly is low-impact exercise?

Generally speaking, an exercise can be considered low-impact if your joints—and especially the ones in your lower body—are not required to endure tremendous force loads when you perform it.

Specific examples of low-impact exercises you may want to include in your training program are:

  • Cycling. One of the many reasons the greater Sacramento community is an outstanding place to live is the fact it’s very bike-friendly. We have some simply great areas to ride your bike – which provides a tremendous cardiovascular workout while avoiding excessive pressure on your ankle (and knee) joints.

  • Swimming. This total-body workout is so beneficial because the water provides resistance, but without creating the force your lower limbs have to endure when you run. Of course, you can find tremendous, joint-friendly benefit from aqua aerobics as well.

  • Yoga. If you are interested in a low-impact activity that is conducive to improved flexibility, range-of-motion, and muscle tone, yoga could be right for you. There are several excellent yoga studios in our greater Sacramento community, so you are bound to find one you will enjoy! Namaste.

  • Weightlifting. You don’t have to train like a professional football player or Olympic weightlifter when you lift weights to supplement your running program! Instead, your goal is simply to strengthen muscle groups in both your upper and lower body. Doing so will reduce your risk of developing stress fractures, since stronger muscles can better help absorb force loads.

  • Walking. Running might receive all the glory, but don’t look past walking – and especially as you create a plan to supplement your running program. If you are already in decent shape, walking might not seem like much of a challenge, but it provides more benefit than you probably realize. Further, it does so without placing as much stress on your lower limbs as running does.

The truth of the matter is that, as a human who has a physical body, you can potentially get hurt doing just about anything. Even walking across the parking lot to your yoga class could result in a sprained ankle. That said, incorporating low-impact exercises will at least reduce the likelihood you injure a foot or ankle.

In the event you sustain a foot or ankle injury while running, performing daily activities, or any other way, contact our team at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group. Our doctors are highly experienced in helping people just like you overcome injuries and get back to favorite activities, so give us a call today at (916) 961-3434 or connect with us online right now.

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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