If you're active on TikTok, you've probably already heard about Cozy Cardio, the latest fitness craze made popular by social media influencer Hope Zuckerbrow.
And if you're not on TikTok, you might be wondering how a workout can possibly combine equal elements of "cozy" and "cardio." However, Cozy Cardio perfectly characterizes the essence of this workout, which involves engaging in low-intensity cardio while incorporating cozy elements into your session. Zuckerbrow demonstrates this by donning cozy sweats and fuzzy socks, sipping on her favorite protein coffee drink, lighting a candle, and using her walking pad while enjoying her favorite show.
A far cry from the uber-intense and ever-popular 12-3-30 TikTok trend, you might be wondering if this workout is worth the time. Baring a few caveats, the answer is a resounding yes! Cozy cardio is an excellent way to make exercise more accessible, enjoyable, and beneficial to overall health. Read on to learn about how cozy cardio can help transform your fitness routine while also upping your cozy game this winter.
Health Benefits of Cozy Cardio
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio per week to improve heart health.(1) Cozy Cardio can be a great way to get that exercise time checked off the list! But the health benefits don’t stop there. Science tells us that taking more steps per day is directly correlated with a reduction in all-cause mortality, regardless of intensity level.(2) And why not make that time extra cozy and fun? It’s an excellent incentive to do something healthy for your body while also enjoying a favorite show, some ambient lighting, and a delicious smelling candle.
But – and here comes the caveat – make sure you aren’t just going through the motions. If you’re working towards a specific goal or want to continue experiencing various health benefits from exercise, it’s important to continuously progress. Always listen to your body, of course, but don’t undercut yourself either. It’s important that your exercise provides some challenge, so if you notice you’re replacing all your strength workouts with cozy cardio, it may be time to re-evaluate.
Create a Sustainable Fitness Plan
If you struggle with setting a workout routine that you can commit to long-term, or perhaps feel a little intimidated when initiating a fitness program, we hear you! This can feel like a daunting task, and it is often difficult to pick a starting point. Cozy cardio is the perfect way to begin with some intentional movement and build your confidence from there.
Even if you have a solid workout routine, Cozy Cardio can still bring some extra movement into your day. Whether you work a desk job and are seated for prolonged stretches of the day, or you just don’t feel like working out for whatever reason, Cozy Cardio is there for you.
On top of that, gentle movement can oftentimes initiate your motivation to do more. If you build a good relationship with exercise, eventually it might even be something you look forward to, and it will be easier to complete your daily workout.
Exercise More Often With the Strategy of “Pairing”
Similar to habit stacking, the strategy of pairing helps form a habit by combining it with another desirable activity.(3) In the instance of Cozy Cardio, perhaps you are pairing watching your favorite show (desirable activity) with a habit that you wish to build (walking more). It is an incentive to engage in healthy habits while also rewarding yourself with a healthy treat.
Be Kind to Your Body
Focus more on emphasizing overall well-being rather than pushing yourself to the limit every time you exercise. “I realized I needed to heal my relationship with exercise,” Zuckerbrow tells CNN Health. “Exercise wasn’t fun anymore, and I was only moving to lose weight, not to feel good or be healthy. I wanted to spark joy when it came to movement.”(4)
You may often feel inundated with social media influencers shouting out the best ways to lose weight, get a bigger booty, or burn the most calories. And if these are goals that resonate with you, that’s great. However, if you do feel a bit overwhelmed or burnt out with a heavy results driven exercise plan, Cozy Cardio might be the perfect solution.
How Can I Get Started?
So, you’re ready to give it a shot but aren’t exactly sure what makes Cozy Cardio, well, cozy? Here are a few tips on upping the coziness of your next workout session!
Wear Your Comfiest Workout Clothes
Forget that fancy new matching workout set – throw on your snuggest, fuzziest pair of sweats and get to walking. You could even stay in your pajamas if that speaks to you. Whatever you wear, just make sure it feels good on your body!
Set the Mood
Light your favorite candle and some ambient lighting (Zuckebrow uses a projector light that depicts the night sky). Low lighting is perfect for the ultimate cozy vibes.
Have a Tasty Beverage Close By
A cup of tea, coffee, protein shake – pick your poison! Be sure to also have your water within arm’s length to stay hydrated.
Turn On Your Favorite Show or Movie
Catch up on any shows you like to watch while you exercise. Something lighthearted, like the Great British Baking Show (my personal favorite), keeps the mood positive and fun.
Listen to a Meditation
If you’re not in the mood for watching T.V., try out a meditation or some gentle music as you walk. This works especially well if you’re taking your Cozy Cardio session outdoors.
The best part about cozy cardio is its accessibility. Depending on your exercise interests, you may want to invest in a Treadpad®, yoga mat, or resistance bands, but you can just as easily get your cozy cardio done with a walk outside. There are no rules, just move your body in a way that, as Zuckerbrow says, sparks joy.
Stay cozy, friends!
1. American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity in adults and kids. www.heart.org. (2022, July 28). https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults. Accessed 6 November 2023.
2. Inoue, K., Tsugawa, Y., Mayeda, E. R., & Ritz, B. (2023). Association of daily step patterns with mortality in US adults. JAMA Network Open, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.5174. Accessed 6 November 2023.
3. Rubin, G. (2022, September 3). Video: Try pairing, one of the easiest ways to strengthen habits. Gretchen Rubin. https://gretchenrubin.com/articles/video-try-pairing-one-of-the-easiest-ways-to-strengthen-habits/. Accessed 6 November 2023.
4. Chiu, F. (2023, September 29). “cozy cardio” tiktok trend can ease you into a fitness routine. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/29/health/cozy-cardio-low-intensity-workout-wellness/index.html. Accessed 6 November 2023.