Get Physical

Low Impact Ways to Sweat (Almost) Anyone Can Do

by Hannah Smith

A fun fact about me: I did ballet for nearly 15 years and took it incredibly seriously, until a recurring knee injury put most of ballet outside of my “range of motion.” For nearly a decade, I’ve been quietly hoping I’d one day be healed enough to take a full class, but in the meantime, I needed to find a new way to exercise. But with super unstable joints and an easily pained knee, I felt limited in the workouts I could achieve. To me, a workout isn’t complete without a little sweat, and all the low impact movements I was going through just we’re cutting it. With the help of a little research and a little testing, I found some fantastic places that bring me that feeling best.

Y7 Studio

Yoga is a great option for anyone looking for low impact movement, especially because yoga instructors are encouraging when it comes to protecting your injuries and allowing you to sit out when necessary. The difference at Y7, though, is that I’m actually able to achieve the sweat I want. While a usual hour of yoga might leave me damp between the girls, I leave Y7 absolutely dripping, which is frankly one of the best feelings on the planet. Because it’s candle lit and quite loud, I feel even more encouraged to sit out when I need to, as well, because I feel as if no one can see me. The difference is small, but Y7 has truly created the environment I crave.


I recently took a class at Session and let me tell you: I was sore in all the right places for days. Session is like communal circuit training – smaller groups rotate four exercises that each contain three movements at incredibly small intervals. The timing truly made the entire hour fly by and there was never a moment when I was wondering when we’d be done. The instructors were incredibly lovely and said they would help me work around my injury in any way. Lucky for me, even though the workout was tough, I was able to go through all of the motions without ever feeling like I was compromising my injury.

New York Pilates

Pilates was actually one of the first forms of physical therapy prescribed to me following my knee injury. It’s all about core strength and building lean muscle, which is helpful for most injuries. While I don’t get the chance to do pilates often (because frankly, it’s such an intense full body workout), I love knowing it’s always an option. New York Pilates is my go-to in the city, as I’ve had great experiences with the instructors when it comes to working around my injury and it conveniently has a ton of locations.


If working out is simply impossible due to injury or just pain levels, I love to take myself for a little cheat day in the infrared sauna. No, an infrared sauna is not the equivalent of a workout, but it does feel like a workout. I sit for about 45 minutes to really sweat and let my muscles loosen up, followed by a quick refreshing shower. Afterward, my muscles feel as if I worked out and foam rolled – loose, easy to move, and pain free. It’s a great way to get in a full sweat without having to exert any energy or put any pressure on your joints.

Feature Image via Vanessa Granda

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