It’s freezing in New York and winter has moved in on most of the country. The first reaction to all of this is to run for cover. Icy air literally bites at your nose — and in cities like New York, there’s almost no escape because we walk everywhere (yippee). At least in other cities, you can quickly escape to your car and seat heat if you have it.
You know what a serious upgrade is from seat heat? Seeking out wellness trends where getting super toasty is on the menu. I developed this habit when I found myself spending more time in the steam room than the Olympic-sized pool or treadmill at my gym last winter. According to healthline.com, there might be a solid reason for gravitating toward the steam room, especially when its cold outside. Studies show a good steam can boost circulation, lower blood pressure, decrease stress, even your skin tone, aid in muscle recovery, soothe stiff joints, ease congestion, and even help support your calorie burn after a serious workout! Geeez. My winter fight-or-flight (and in this case, it’s a flee into the steam room) instincts are smart!
If you can’t find a steam room, try out these passive and somewhat more aggressive havens of sweat to beat the cold:
HigherDOSE (NY) + Shape House (NY & LA)
These two competing urban sweat dens work to accomplish similar ends. Starting at about $45 – $50 a session (and up depending on how long you choose to sweat) both of these spas offer infrared sauna wraps. You wear gym socks, sweatpants, and a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin. Then you get sealed in what’s akin to a giant burrito and you lay there and sweat. In addition to the sauna wraps, HigherDose also has infrared rooms where you can sweat and move around (a better option for the claustrophobic). I tried Shape House in Los Angeles. There you get a choice of streaming content to watch to keep you calm through the heat. Some people panic and have to bust out of the burrito before time is up. I was deep into season 2 of Transparent by the end of my session. It may have helped burn calories had I gone for a run beforehand. But I did feel euphoric, and my skin had a beautiful post-sweat glow. There are no reliable health studies to back up claims that these spas help you cleanse your system or release toxins (doctors are quick to remind you that’s what a healthy liver and kidneys are for). But these spas are addictive and can’t hurt when you have the hots for some heat — if you’re willing to fork over the cash.
Y7 STUDIO (NY & LA)
This is the original hip hop, hot yoga studio founded in Brooklyn —but now with locations all over New York City and Los Angeles. Their slogan is “We Flow Hard” — but you’ll certainly sweat hard too. Pro-tip: Make sure you bring a towel for your mat and a second one to sop up the sweat from your body. You’ll ooze more electrolytes than a broken hourglass. Things are slippery when wet, so you need that towel for your mat because you don’t want to wipe out while you’re settled into warrior and bopping your head to Biggie. This is 60 minutes of strength work in a room with infrared heating set at 80-90 degrees. Y7 suggests you drink 32 oz. of water an hour before class time. Don’t try this hungover or after day drinking. Just don’t! (This is also a pretty good rule of thumb for almost any hot yoga class.) Build strength, flexibility, and a continued lack of appreciation for the cold. Y7 is also releasing a book — The Y7 Guide To Crafting Your Yoga Practice.
LEKFit (LA & Everywhere)
Thanks to my Busy Philipps Instagram story addiction, I’ve learned a bunch. One thing I’ve learned is that Lauren Kleban’s dance-inspired fitness method makes you sweat . . . A LOT. I tried it in Los Angeles during a week-long stay for work. I was pretty un-conditioned at the time so it was a challenge. It was also a totally new, yet welcome approach to a dance-based workout. A mix of low-impact and high-intensity moves burn calories and sculpt muscles. I’m petite so I’ll go for almost anything that promotes long and lean. This is a workout practically anyone of any fitness level can do. But be prepared for a challenge so you don’t feel defeated from jump — and by jump, I mean there are lots of plyometrics involved, and some classes are even mini-trampoline based. Light hand and ankle weights are also used. Classes are 55 minutes. You can also stream Kleban’s workouts OnDemand for $15.99/month (she even has a free trial which I plan to soon take advantage of)!
Photo Credit: Media Photos/iStock