Low impact workouts are greatly underappreciated by most runners. Many believe low impact always means low intensity, and therefore a lesser value sweat session, but this could not be further from the truth! Low impact sessions are a necessary ingredient for high performing runners, especially postpartum runners, and they can be both low and high intensity depending on the activity.
If runners are only running, and not mixing in strength work + low impact cardio sessions, they are on course to run themselves into an overuse injury and/or overtrain beyond their body’s capacity – both of which negatively impact athletic performance.
Therefore, I recommend all runners incorporate low impact work into their weekly routines for these important reasons:
- Reduce their risk for developing overuse injuries while still being able to train the cardiovascular system.
- Improve recovery between workouts by decreasing extra loading of high impact forces on muscles, soft tissues, and joints
- Reduce the incidence of over training syndrome (yes, non-professional athletes can get this too!) and thus help them show up fresh to their next sweat session.
I recommend mixing in two low impact sessions for every three running sessions per week to help balance out your workouts. These are often helpful to pair on the days following your running sessions as a way to space out your harder intensity workouts and give your body more time to recover between those higher demanding sessions.
What are your favorite low impact activities? I love pilates, hiking, spinning and strength training.