Some days, sweating is the opposite of what you want to do. Whether it’s because of a skin condition or perhaps you’re trying to save that perfect hairstyle for your dinner date later on, your body’s natural cooling mechanism doesn’t always feel cool.
Don’t want to sweat? Some of the best workouts don’t leave you sweat-drenched. The trick? Tweak your intensity. “You don’t need to rev the engine fully to get certain health benefits,” says orthopedic surgeon Nick DiNubile, M.D. “Moving is super important, even if it’s at a lower intensity.”
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite workouts that offer loads of benefits, sans the sweat.
Not only can yoga be super calming, but it can also help prevent heart disease by lowering risk factors like high blood pressure and high blood sugar. “You don’t need to be drenched by the end of your practice to have a good yoga class,” says Jamey Powell, a yoga teacher and instructor at Swerve Fitness in New York City. “The practice of yoga is all about tying breath to movement in order to calm the fluctuations of the mind. Even a seemingly simple sun salutation, which requires you to slow down and focus on your breath without a ton of movement, can affect your body.” Embracing the present and focusing on yourself? Those are the kind of self-love vibes we can get on board with.
Roll Everything Out
Foam rolling is having a major moment for all of the right reasons. This knot-attacking cylinder can do wonders for your flexibility and mobility. New research even indicates that foam rolling is an effective warm-up tool, improving range of motion without negatively impacting strength. Plus, it can be a total-body toning device. “The foam roller can also be used as an effective exercise tool by creating an unstable surface, which can ultimately recruit more muscle fibers and burn more calories,” says Dan Giordano, C.S.C.S., cofounder of Rove, which makes a portable foam roller.
Meet at the Barre
This barefoot workout, using small weights, resistance bands, and balls, is all about endurance. Designed to lengthen and tone your muscles, the movements involved are small and focused on certain muscle groups. “These small pulses tone very specific areas of your body and cause you to feel a burn and sometimes even a little shake or quiver of your muscles,” says Kara Liotta, an instructor and creative director for FlyBarre. “Although you may not be dripping in sweat, you will definitely feel the intense work and struggle to stay in each shape for the total duration.” Take breaks, Liotta suggests, if you really want to keep your cool. You’ll still reap the body benefits.
Use a Resistance Band
Stretching as a workout? Yes, especially if you want to maintain your strength gains. They may remind you of oversize rubber bands, but resistance bands can do wonders for your body and your mobility. Resistance stretching uses tension on the muscle while it’s in the elongated position, not just when it’s being contracted. The result? You’re strengthening throughout your entire range of motion, something that’s hard to do without the assist. “Band work helps you get straight to the joint, create space, and find bigger ranges of motion you might not be able to achieve without assistance,” says Rebecca Kennedy, a Nike master trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor, and founder of the active recovery class A.C.C.E.S.S. “This extra space invites more synovial fluid to enter and creates better joint movement.”
Tone Up In a Flash
Tight on time? Quick muscle-focused segments, like this five-minute ab workout, can give you great results without taking up a chunk of your schedule or requiring a total glam redo in the locker room. “Simple toning workouts are a great solution for anyone with a packed day,” says Chelsea Aguiar, founder of Athaya Fitness and an instructor at the high-intensity training class Fhitting Room. “Plus, they’re an effective way to keep your metabolism running on days when you can’t make it to the gym.”