The Philly Fitness Lover’s Winter Bucket List

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park | Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park | Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

Winter can be a tough time of year to get excited about fitness. Most people go into full-on hibernation mode, choosing to hole up on the couch in front of a Netflix marathon rather than get out the door for a sweaty (or sometimes frostbite-inducing) fitness endeavor. So it’s a good thing we’re not most people — and neither are you.

If braving the elements for an invigorating run sounds like way more fun than putting a permanent dent in your couch, you’ve come to the right place. There’s plenty of fun to be had in our region this time of year, from outdoor activities to indoor classes. Here, nine things we think every Philly fitness lover needs to do at least once this winter. 

1. Try the newest hot-yoga studio on the block.
My BWP co-conspirator Adjua Fisher cannot stop raving about the just-opened CorePower Yoga in Rittenhouse. The music is great, the classes are tough (but doable for all levels) and the space itself, she says, is gorgeous. And I quote: “It’s like the Ferrero Rocher of yoga studios,” says Adjua. “Like, the fancy option. Not the Hershey’s option.” Noted. Classes are heated — some, hotter and more humid than others — so it’s also the perfect spot to warm up this winter.

2. Enjoy the flowers.
Yup, in the winter. The Fairmount Park Conservancy is turning last month’s one-time yoga class at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center into a whole series in the New Year. Right now, there are three sessions on the schedule — one Sunday a month from January through March — with instructor Emile Sorger slated to lead each one. The classes take place among the flowers and greenery, and it’s warm enough in there that you can practice in a t-shirt. We can get down with that.

3. Attempt a triple axel.
Channel your inner Tara Lapinski and take advantage of Philly’s outdoor ice skating rinks while you can. The rink at Dilworth is the stunner you take out of town guests to, as it doubles as a pretty pitstop at City Hall. Over on the Delaware River, Blue Cross RiverRink has really hit its stride this season, with a magical winter wonderland that feels like an indoor-outdoor ski lodge, complete with fireplace, cosy “living rooms” where you can hang with friends, plenty of couches and chairs and, of course, the rink.

4. Go on a snowy run (if, you know, it ever snows).
We’ve been doing our best snow dance for a week now, but so far nary a flake has fallen. Because this warm snap can’t last all winter long (can it?!), you might as well start dreaming up your winter running routes now. We’ve got 10 solid suggestions.

5. Do (indoor) Yoga on the Pier.
The folks at the always popular (and oh-so-summer-appropriate) Yoga on the Pier wanted to keep the free-yoga love alive all winter long this year. So they moved things indoors, with a free once-a-month class at Old City’s Fearless Athletics. It happens the second Sunday of the month through March at 9:30 a.m.

6. Punch something. Hard. 
Boxing is having a moment. Don’t believe us? A new outpost of the Manayunk-based Joltin’ Jabs opened this fall in Center City, and Fuel Cycle Fitness — a Spin and boxing combo studio — is slated to open in Ardmore next week (with free classes!). Plus, you know, there’s the whole Creed thing that people are pretty amped on lately. We suggest making this the season you finally try a boxing working on for size. Just don’t blame us if you get completely addicted.

7. Tackle a winter hike.
Just because the trees are leaf-less now doesn’t mean hiking season is over. There’s still plenty of beauty to see in the woods, and you can do so in solitude: The trails are gloriously peaceful and foot-traffic free. Here are some local spots where we love to get our hike on.

8. Fine. Hibernate. (But only for 90 minutes.)
If a mental detox is what you need, we’ve got just the thing: a float treatment in a dark salt-water-filled pod at Floatation Philly. It’s an experiment/experience in total sensory deprivation, an opportunity to do nothing but shut out the world and relax. You’ll either love it or hate it — or, if you’re our gal, Adjua, it’ll be a mix of both. She tried the float pod last month. Check out her review.

9. Go for a swim.
Last winter, I got pretty addicted to water aerobics classes at South Philly’s Fitness Works. It was the perfect fitness scenario: Since my outdoor fitness quotient naturally dipped (there are only so many sub-zero runs this girl can take), I filled my time with an activity that was non-impact, yet challenging, and, well, super fun to boot. The classes offer a good mix of cardio and conditioning, without swimming laps, for a surprisingly tough workout that’s suited (and easily tailored to) all levels and abilities. Plus, they take place in a saltwater pool, so you’ll feel like you’re actually doing something good for your skin and body. Day passes to Fitness Works are $12.

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