20 Ways to Have a Healthier, Happier 2020 in Philly
Stop making resolutions that will inevitably fail, and start going after what you really want out of the new year: less stress, more time, and a healthier lifestyle.
1. Let your rage out.
To get an endorphin rush without breaking anything valuable, head to a class at Rumble Boxing, where the water-filled aqua punching bags are a little easier on your hands than traditional heavy bags, so you can feel free to hit the crap out of ’em. 1520 Walnut Street, Center City.
2. Make working out fun.
It’s time to reclaim the feeling of moving because it’s awesome, not because you need exercise. At Pop Fit Studio’s Bungee Workout classes, you’ll strap into the harness of a bungee cord that hangs from the ceiling and dance, leap, plank and push-up, nearly weightless. You’ll enjoy yourself so much, you won’t even notice you’re breaking a sweat. 1305 West Chester Pike, Havertown.
3. Get deeper sleep.
Imagine a bubble bath where the water never gets cold and you don’t have to rest against the hard edge of the tub. That’s kind of what float therapy is like at Stillpoint Yoga and Float, where you climb into a water tank spiked with 1,200 pounds of Epsom salts. The salts make it impossible to sink and incredibly easy to doze off. That this treatment can improve your sleep beyond the tank feels like a bonus. 600 Clark Avenue, King of Prussia.
4. Spend more time with animals.
Hanging with furry friends can be great for your mental health, reducing stress and anxiety. And you don’t have to be a pet owner to reap the benefits.
Walk a Goat
The Philly Goat Project brings a herd of goats to yoga classes and therapy sessions and makes them available for regular old walks in Philly parks, cemeteries and neighborhoods. We dare you to not love walking a baby goat through the Wissahickon. Phillygoatproject.org.
Jog With a Dog
Join the Monster Milers’ monthly fun runs and help a shelter dog stretch his legs. You’ll run a few miles, then get plenty of grateful pup cuddles after. Themonstermilers.org.
Do Yoga With a Cat
Practice your cat pose with the creatures who inspired the dang thing at Le Cat Cafe. The $15 class runs every Monday evening, and no one will judge if you spend more time playing than stretching. 2713 West Girard Avenue, Brewerytown.
5. Do shorter workouts.
Doing something is better than nothing. Enter Philly’s slate of 30-minute workouts — heavy-hitting classes that’ll give you a serious sweat in less time. At X-Force (30 South 15th Street, Center City), trainers recommend coming in for the super-intense 30-minute negative strength training (which adds 40 percent more resistance as you bring the weights back down) once a week. Every small-group personal training session at Fit Tribe (multiple locations) runs just 30 minutes — which is really all you’ll be able to take of the high-intensity, metabolism-boosting circuits. Then there’s the Tabata Power 30 at Y2BFit (7101 Emlen Street, Mount Airy), which will spike your heart rate with 20-second bursts of body-weight exercises followed by 10 seconds of rest.
6. Dance it out.
A yoga class followed by a sober rave is one heck of a way to start your day. Every one of the monthly pop-up events hosted by Daybreaker — they’ve ranged from a mermaid-themed soiree on the Moshulu to a glow-in-the-dark party at FringeArts — includes a sunrise stretching session, a dance party with a live DJ, and surprise guests. Daybreaker’s positive vibes will put you in a good mood for the rest of the week. Daybreaker.com.
7. Drink less.
South Philly’s Better Without Booze blogger, Joy Manning, weighs in on how you can join the sober-curious trend. Keep reading here.
8. Surround yourself with greenery.
Adding some potted plants to your living space can help reduce stress. Plus, they look pretty. Here are three that won’t immediately die on you.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
They can thrive in any light, they can go a month without watering, and they infrequently need repotting. Who said gardening was hard? Buy it at: Stump, 956 North 2nd Street, Northern Liberties.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
NASA identified this plant as a powerhouse when it comes to purifying air and reducing mold spores. It also produces beautiful white blooms. Buy it at: Lowe’s, multiple locations.
The pre-made glass houses at Pretty Green Terrariums are designed to be self-sustaining ecosystems that you only have to water twice a year. Buy it at: Pretty Green Terrariums, 1116 South Street, Bella Vista.
9. Turn your runs into hangouts.
During the coldest months of the year, it’s even harder to motivate. But local groups like City Fit Girls and November Project, which host outdoor runs year-round, are big on creating environments where friendships easily blossom.
10. Sweat it out.
Saunas used to be restricted to spas and membership-only fitness clubs, but the Wellness Refinery has given the hot box the boutique treatment. At this adorable Old City shop, you can book a 30- or 45-minute sweat session to help your body do everything from recover from workouts to restore energy. 216 Church Street, Old City.
11. Add self-care Sundays to your calendar.
Newly opened at the Fashion District, the Sable Collective features products made by women of color and from women-owned businesses. Its Self-Care Sundays series offers pop-up events like yoga and CBD info sessions that create an inclusive space for wellness and education. Find a calendar of what’s coming at Thesablecollective.com. 1101 Market Street, Market East.
You keep saying you want less screen time. Catherine Price, Philly-based author of How to Break Up With Your Phone, tells you how to finally get it. Keep reading here.
13. Use yoga to energize your day …
Getting out of a warm bed before sunrise is a lot easier thanks to Teranga Yoga’s infrared-heated studio. Every class is set to global music — from reggae to hip-hop — that adds a little boost of energy to an already uplifting practice. 626 South 7th Street, Bella Vista.
14. Or to wind you down for better sleep.
Tuck Barre & Yoga incorporates weighted blankets — beloved for their ability to help you release serotonin — into a 45-minute yoga class, “The Gravity Method,” that focuses on relaxing your nervous system and deep stretches for the back, legs and hips. Multiple locations.
15. Clean up your beauty routine.
Step away from the chemical-laden drugstore face wash you’ve been using since middle school. Clean beauty shop Freedom Apothecary co-owner Bonkosi Horn shares how. Keep reading here.
16. Mix up your cardio.
Sick and tired of the stupid treadmill? Us too. At Fitness Alive’s group aqua classes, you’ll run through the pool to get your heart rate up, do some muscle-building water exercises, and never, ever get bored. 1425 Arch Street, Center City.
17. Meditate more.
Keep snoozing through your morning meditation time? Try booking a 30-minute meditation class at Vitality. (They’ve got an Intro to Meditation version for first-timers.) It’s a lot harder to skip this important “me” time when it’s on the books — and you’re paying for it. 1856 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown.
18. Finally join a CSA.
Getting in on a local farm share is a good spur to eating more plants. You can find CSAs all over the city, but a few of the best are Greensgrow Farms in Port Richmond; Highland Orchards, which has pickup spots all over the city and ’burbs; and Philly Foodworks, which has pickup and home-delivery options.
19. Spend less time cooking.
Don’t have time to craft healthy meals? Find a food delivery service that suits your needs.
Reap Wellness will deliver plant-forward breakfasts, lunches and snacks that make following the old adage to “eat the rainbow” easier. Delivery in parts of Philadelphia and the Main Line. Reapwellness.com.
Territory serves nutritionist-backed breakfasts, lunches and dinners and provides the macronutrient breakdown for each dish. Delivery in parts of Philadelphia and select suburbs. Territoryfoods.com.
Home Appétit makes it easy to choose delicious, healthy dishes from the changes-weekly menu; options can also be made gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian. They even have kids’ meals. Delivery in Philly and some suburbs. Homeappetitphilly.com.
20. Give back.
Doing good for others does good for you, too. Volunteer at these organizations to help the next generation of Philadelphians live happier, healthier lives.
If you like running: Volunteer with Girls on the Run — either to coach a running team or for day-of-event needs at their 5K — and help third-through-eighth-grade girls learn confidence, build friendships, and develop an appreciation for health and fitness. Girlsontherun.org.
If you like cooking: Volunteer at Vetri Community Partnership’s mobile kitchen, which travels to schools and community events to teach kids and their families nutrition and healthy cooking basics. Vetricommunity.org.
If you like crafting: Volunteer for the Philly chapter of Project Sunshine and help bring arts and crafts and other programming to pediatric patients at local hospitals. Projectsunshine.org.
Published as “Jump-Start Your New Year” in the January 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.