There’s no sugar-coating it: pounding the pavement (or hitting the treadimill) day after day takes its toll.

“Running is a high-impact sport that causes stress on the body and the joints,” Lindsey Clatyon, senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City and co-founder of the Brave Body Project, tells Runner’s World. Over time, too much impact can increase your risk of overuse injuries or exacerbate issues for runners who deal with joint pain—especially if you’re jumping into the sport without prepping your body for the impact.

For these reasons, Clayton recommends that runners incorporate low-impact cardio workouts into their exercise routines. It’s particularly smart to do so on cross-training days.

The Benefits of This Low-Impact Cardio Workout for Runners

Low-impact means there’s no jumping in this workout—you’ll always have at least one foot on the ground. While cardio is usually synonymous with explosive movements, that’s not the case here.

But don’t think that “low-impact” means low effort. Done right, a low-impact cardio workout can be just tough and sweaty as a tempo run. “The key to adding low-impact cardio exercises into your routine is all about intensity,” Clayton says. “There’s a difference between impact and intensity, and just because you aren’t running or jumping doesn’t mean these exercises are going to be easy. Moving with speed and efficiency will get your heart rate up and challenge your cardiovascular system.”

Programmed by Clayton, the following workout is designed to hit all the major muscle groups and leave you breathless after just one round. However, it’s crucial to move quickly and with purpose. “Again, the key to making these moves cardio-driven lies in the speed and intensity at which they’re performed,” Clayton says.

How to use this list: Perform each exercise below for 30-60 seconds, resting for 10 seconds between exercises. Repeat the full circuit 2-3 times. Rest for 1 minute between rounds.

Each move is demonstrated by Clayton in the video above so you can learn the proper form. An exercise mat is recommended.

1. Inchworm to Plank Knee Drive

low impact cardio workout for runners
Lindsey Clayton

Why it works: “This is a full-body exercise that challenges strength and balance, and the knee drive mimics the knee drive in running,” Clayton says.

How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Fold forward at waist and place palms on ground. (If necessary, bend knees slightly.) Walk hands out to a plank position, shoulders over wrists, forming a straight line from head to heels. Maintaining a flat back and engaged core, drive right knee toward chest and quickly step back to plank. Immediately drive left knee toward chest and step back to plank. Walk hands back toward feet, then stand back up. Repeat.

2. Bear Plank to Low Squat

low impact cardio workout, bear plank to low squat
Lindsey Clayton

Why it works: Moving between a bear plank and a low squat will quickly accelerate your heart rate, and both positions strengthen your core, glutes, and legs.

How to do it: Start on all fours with a neutral spine, knees under hips, and wrists under shoulders. Keeping back flat, use core to lift knees off the ground a few inches so you’re balancing on palms (or fists, if more comfortable for your wrists) and the balls of feet in a bear plank. This is the starting position. Keeping knees bent, step feet forward one at a time, lift torso, and bring hands in front of chest in a low squat. Immediately place palms on the ground and step back into bear plank position. Repeat.

3. High-Low Plank With Mountain Climber

low impact cardio workout, high low plank with mountain climber
Lindsey Clayton

Why it works: An upper-body burner, this movement combo demands killer core strength and fast legs.

How to do it: Start in high plank position with shoulders over wrists and core engaged. Body should form a straight line from head to heels. Replace right hand with right elbow, then left hand with left elbow until you’re in a forearm plank position. Then replace right elbow with right hand, then left elbow with left hand so you’re back in a high plank position. Perform two sets of mountain climbers by driving knees toward chest (right, left, right, left). Repeat sequence.

4. Squat to Calf Raise

low impact cardio workout, squat to calf raise
Lindsey Clayton

Why it works: This drill works every muscle from the waist down, and the calf raise offers an additional balance challenge. By strengthening the lower body, particularly the glutes, quads, and calves, you also have more power through every part of your stride.

How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Keeping back flat and chest up, send hips back and down, bending knees to lower into a squat. Drive through feet to stand back up and at the top, lift heels to come up onto balls of feet. Lower heels and immediately go into next squat. Repeat.

5. Standing Cross-Body Knee Drive

low impact cardio workout, cross body knee drive
Lindsey Clayton

Why it works: The standing cross-body knee drive immediately gets the blood pumping while working the legs, glutes, and core, especially the obliques.

How to do it: Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned to left so body is on a diagonal. Lift arms above head, hands together. This is the starting position. Keeping chest lifted and core engaged, drive right knee across body toward chest as you bring hands down toward right hip, rotating slightly to the right. Immediately return to starting position and go into next rep. Repeat. Then switch sides.

6. Lateral Lunge

low impact cardio workout, lateral lunge
Lindsey Clayton

Why it works: The lateral movement of this alternating lunge fires up the quads, hamstrings, and gluteus medius. This gets you working in a different plane of motion to help injury-proof your body.

How to do it: Stand with feet far apart, toes forward. Shift weight to left leg as you push hips straight back and bend left knee. Keep right leg straight. (Make sure knees and toes point forward.) Maintaining a flat back, reach right hand toward left toes. Keep head up and right heel pressed into ground. Without fully standing up, immediately shift weight to right, bend right knee, and reach left hand toward right toes. Repeat, alternating sides.