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If you’ve ever sweated in a smelly gym as a form of exercise and didn’t find yourself enjoying the experience, cozy cardio might be for you. Fortunately, cozy cardio offers all the benefits of your typical cardio workout, but you might find the setting and experience a lot more pleasant!
Of course, being cozy in your mind might look like curling up next to a fireplace with a good book, a soft blanket, and a warm mug of tea, whereas when you think of cardio, you might envision a cold, sterile gym environment, which is pretty much the opposite.
Even if cozy and cardio might be the last two words you would choose to put together in one sentence, we’ll explain it all and you’ll see how you can make your cardio cozy. In this article, we’ll discuss what cozy cardio is and how you can try it for yourself. The end result is to make exercise enjoyable, and who doesn’t want that?
What is cozy cardio?
Think of cozy cardio as a cardio workout on your own terms. No loud music (unless you want it), no peer pressure or judging looks from strangers, and no going to a gym far away or paying high rates just for the chance to sweat out a few calories.
The good news is that you can still improve your health with the benefits of cardio exercise, without having to suffer through it. That’s where cozy cardio comes in.
According to CNN, “Cozy cardio is a term popularized by social media influencer Hope Zuckerbrow … In her TikTok videos, which have gained 34 million likes, she is often seen on a walking pad in her living room, which softly glows from colored lights and candles. As she strolls on the pad, sometimes in pajamas and a fuzzy robe, Zuckerbrow watches TV and sips her favorite protein coffee drink. After a half hour or so, she’s done.”
Forbes explains it in a similar way: “Doing ‘cozy cardio’ is essentially doing cardiovascular exercise—otherwise known as cardio—in a much more comfortable manner. It can be a good way to ease into getting more physical activity since low intensity is better than no intensity.”
As you can see, cozy cardio is all about creating a form of exercise or a routine that brings you joy. Exercise should be something you look forward to or else you won’t maintain it, and exercise must be a habit for life if you’re going to reap the full benefits.
How to do cozy cardio
As OnePeloton puts it, cozy cardio is about getting your heart rate up while feeling as comfortable as possible. They state, “This will look a bit different for everyone, but it might mean dimming the lights in your living room for a bit of ambiance, putting on your favorite show, and wearing your favorite sweats. As for the cardio, that might mean a brisk walk, or a yoga flow, or another form of movement that feels good to your body.”
So how can you do cozy cardio on your own terms? The short answer is: however you want! Maybe that means a long, slow yin yoga class in your local studio, or maybe it means a sweaty session on your indoor stationary bike in a candlelit room. Maybe cozy cardio looks like a long walk with a best friend and a hot mug of coffee, dressed in a cozy sweater.
Forbes also points out that to know about low intensity exercise, you need to know your heart rate targets. The article states, “To determine what may be low versus moderate intensity, you should know your maximum heart rate. … You can calculate your estimated maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 beats per minute (bpm).”
Cozy cardio is about a low heart rate, but letting that serve as a base to increase your workout intensity over time. Trying this TikTok trend might not only improve your health, it may also help to heal your relationship with exercise so you see it as an aspect of life that brings joy rather than suffering or punishment.
Whatever brings you joy and gets your body moving at the same time can be your perfect form of cozy cardio. Exercise is already a form of self-love, but cozy cardio makes it all the more lovely. Remember, you won’t exercise consistently and make it a lifelong habit if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing! That’s why cozy cardio can easily be maintained as a habit for life.
Benefits of cozy cardio
Is a slow, short walk really an effective form of exercise?
CNN reports that cozy cardio is indeed a good form of exercise! The article states, “Replacing 30 minutes a day of sedentary time with light-intensity physical activity was associated with an 11% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 24% reduction in cardiovascular mortality … Another study of low-intensity walking showed beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart rate, suggesting it may be an appropriate form of exercise for hypertension management, especially for those who are frail or have a chronic illness.”
It seems that the benefits of cozy cardio are the same as what you’d get from any cardio workout, and they range from reducing stress to improving heart health, strengthening your immune system, boosting your mental health, and decreasing your chances of contracting a chronic disease. If getting cozy and upping your heart rate can help reduce your reliance on prescription cholesterol medications or heart medications, it’s surely worth a try.
Of course, while cozy cardio is better than no exercise at all, it’s still important to fit in some intentionally vigorous activity, too. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on a weekly basis.
And don’t forget that even though working out indoors is fine, it’s good to get outdoors every day, too. You need fresh air and sunshine to thrive! Plus, being out in nature can offer health benefits like lowering your blood pressure, providing a dose of Vitamin D (which can boost your immunity), improving asthma due to breathing clean air in a forest, and more.
One way to up the intensity and get outdoors is to go outside and time how long it takes you to walk a mile. Each day (or week), try to beat your last time. As long as you are progressing and improving with each workout, you know you’re doing good for yourself and your health.
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