Philly Winter Wellness Guide
This is the time of year when the winter slump conjures up visions of escaping the city for warmer weather. We have a better idea. Rejuvenate your health and boost your energy right here in Philly! Our Winter Wellness Guide offers ways to enhance your well-being and put a glow on your cheeks without going through the TSA security line.
When the temperature dips below freezing, there’s more than one way to turn up the heat. “Coming to our Rittenhouse Square studio, 2016 Walnut, is like taking a vacation somewhere warm and welcoming where you can move your body and relax your mind,” said Hally Bayer, founder of Thrive Pilates and Yoga. “These practices are restorative, sustainable, and accessible to people of all fitness levels. Stretching and strengthening your body as well as deepening the breath can be especially beneficial in the winter months when our bodies are stiff from the cold and our moods and energy may be lacking the joy and zest we have in the spring and summer months.
Winter can do a number on your mental health and, for some people, it causes seasonal affective disorder (SAD). “Massage not only relieves muscle soreness and tension, it also chases away the winter blues,” said Donna Zadie, owner of Philadelphia School of Massage & Bodywork, 263 N. Lawrence St. “Massage can decrease the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, ushering in feelings of relaxation and improving your outlook.”
Image Left: Philadelphia School of Massage and Bodywork
If you are not already familiar with Dope Botanicals, the Rittenhouse Square herbal shop at 257 S. 20th, stop by for tonics and elixirs that boost your health and spirit. Sister co-founders, Nakia and Taahirah Stith will work their magic and introduce you to organic herbal formulas specific to your needs. “Defense Tea, our delicious hand-blended herbal tea blend, is a Vitamin C powerhouse,” said Nakia. “Spruce Tips is an herbal tincture that is great for coughs and colds, plus it’s an expectorant. We also have Chaga, a mushroom that can give your immune defenses a boost.”
During blustery months, there’s another way to reduce stress, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, and increase the “feel good” hormones serotonin and oxytocin. Visit Le Cat Cafe, 2713 West Girard Avenue! Research has shown that cat owners experience all of these health benefits in return for providing a loving home for a furry feline. Unlike other animal shelters, Le Cat Cafe kitties are not in cages but freely wandering around, playing with their toys and beguiling patrons. Think of it as “speed dating” with cats. You are under no obligation to adopt, but there’s plenty of opportunity to interact while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea.
Le Cat Cafe also offers a way to see how your children respond to these playful critters. (Note: Children who grow up with cats are at reduced risk for allergies and asthma later in life.) Hosted by Green Street Rescue, there’s no pressure to adopt, but if you fall under the spell of a winsome feline, you may fill out an application. Reservations required.
Resolutions to join a fitness center tend to fizzle out by February. Fortunately, Philly has many other ways to get an aerobic workout without going near a treadmill. Take a dance class at Koresh School of Dance, 2002 Rittenhouse Square, with over 20 drop-in classes each week at all levels, including ballet, hip hop, modern and jazz dance.
Whether you are interested in improving your Social, Ballroom, or Latin Dance, there’s a class for you at Danza Academy of Social Dance, 2003 Sansom St. For over 40 years, this Rittenhouse Square dance school has given confidence to even the most reluctant dancers, whether for the first dance at their wedding or simply brushing up their tango. Estilo Dance Studio, 2036 Frankford Ave., Fishtown, offers group classes in mambo, salsa, and Bachata for beginner and intermediate dancers. Meanwhile, Flaunt Fitness,1939 S. 17th St, promises to turn couch potatoes into toned pole dancers and will even sell you a pole!
Not into classes? Philly has no shortage of dance clubs for all ages and music preferences. A Gayborhood favorite, Frankie Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St., offers dancing to funk and soul on Friday and Saturday nights. In Old City, Blue Martini, 24 S. Second St., an Asian fusion eatery and martini bar turns up the dance music nightly for a younger, diverse crowd. If you prefer a Latin beat, head to Brasil’s Nightclub, 112 Chestnut St., for salsa lessons for beginners on Fridays and a dance party every Saturday. No need to bring a partner.
However you choose to reinvigorate yourself this winter, we encourage you to take charge of your physical and mental well-being with the many seasonal offerings available right here in Philly.