Can the ‘Cozy Cardio’ TikTok Trend Really Help You Get in Shape?

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Cozy Cardio is TikTok’s at-home fitness trend that prioritizes staying comfortable while performing low impact exercise. Ton Photograph/AFP via Getty Images
  • A new exercise trend known on TikTok as “Cozy Cardio” encourages people to take a gentler approach to working out by creating cozy exercise environments.
  • Examples of Cozy Cardio include lighting a candle, playing soothing music, and enjoying your favorite protein drink while you complete a gentle cardio workout.
  • Experts say the Cozy Cardio trend could help you build sustainable health and fitness habits.
  • Cardio can improve your heart health and contribute to weight loss.

Cozy Cardio — a new fitness trend on TikTok — takes a kinder, gentler approach to exercise. And, if you find intense exercise routines intimidating, it may be an ideal way to get fit.

Rather than putting yourself through a grueling workout, Cozy Cardio is all about making exercise an enjoyable and accessible everyday activity.

It involves creating a calm and cozy exercise environment and completing a cardio workout, usually from the comfort of your own home.

TikTok creator Hope Zuckerbrow popularized the trend when she first posted her morning cardio routine on the platform.

Her early morning cardio session involved lighting a candle, making an iced coffee, and donning fluffy socks, before walking at a gentle pace on her walking pad for 40 minutes, with a romcom on in the background.

Since then, many social media users have shared their own Cozy Cardio routines. There are many ways to get involved in the trend, like wearing your favorite loose-fitting clothing, lighting a candle, or playing soothing music while you workout.

Cozy Cardio certainly sounds like a more gentle and accessible way to get fit. But is it effective?

Ellie Crawley, an online strength and conditioning coach and founder of Feel Fit, told Healthline that Cozy Cardio is about stripping away the idea of ‘no pain, no gain’ and moving toward exercise that places an emphasis on overall well-being.

In doing so, it makes fitness more accessible and allows you to build sustainable health habits.

“Not everyone feels confident working out, and so creating a comfortable space — as Cozy Cardio encourages you to do — can mean the difference in starting a fitness habit and putting it off,” she noted.

“Cozy Cardio can be a great starting point, because the more you do it, the more confidence you’ll build, and who knows where that might lead.”

Likewise, Eliza Flynn, a personal trainer at The Warrior Method, said she loves this more casual approach to fitness.

“I’ve found there are two types of people — those who love the busy, noisy atmosphere of the gym or a fitness class as they find it motivating and exciting, and those who would much rather exercise at their own pace, in a more calm manner,” she told Healthline.

Cozy Cardio may be ideal if you’re in the latter camp, as you can set up an environment to suit you. What’s more, Flynn said Cozy Cardio offers a more flexible approach to fitness, too.

“It feels like it’s getting harder and harder to fit regular, sustainable fitness into the modern lifestyle, so anything which nudges you into regular, consistent exercise is a winner in my opinion,” she shared.

When you remove the barriers to exercise, it paves the way for you to work out consistently — and when you train consistently, you’re more likely to see improvements, like increased energy and stamina.

Flynn described Cozy Cardio as creating your personal best environment as it can help you tap into increased energy, motivation, and focus.

She said it allows you to take a holistic approach to fitness, which can be a welcome change to the ‘train insane’, ‘go hard or go home’ messaging prevalent on social media.

When you do this, exercise becomes less of a chore and more of an enjoyable experience that becomes part of your everyday lifestyle.

Regarding exercise trends, strength training has overtaken cardio in the popularity stakes in recent years. However, both experts agree that cardio offers many health benefits and should form at least some of your weekly movement.

“Regular cardio should be part of every person’s week as it can help offset many health risks exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes,” said Flynn.

“It can also contribute to weight loss, build up your heart muscles so you can better take in and process oxygen, and can even improve your immune system,” she added.

Cardio offers many mental health and well-being benefits as well. In particular, Flynn said it can reduce stress, boost energy levels, and improve your mood.

What’s more, cardio can be less intimidating and more beginner-friendly than strength training.

“For those who are starting to exercise, gentle cardio is a great place to start as you generally have less muscle ache after than a traditional weights workout, and you can build it up gradually,” said Flynn.

However, cardio should make up just one part of your exercise routine. If you’re a fan of Cozy Cardio you should aim to add in some weight training eventually.

This is especially important as you age. Age-related muscle loss starts around age 30 and can impact your mobility and contribute to your risk of fractures and falls.

As you age, strength training will help increase muscle mass and bone density.

If you want to make Cozy Cardio a habit, keeping it simple is key.

“The main appeal of Cozy Cardio is that it takes very little effort to get started. As soon as something requires a lot of effort, it becomes much easier to put it off,” Flynn pointed out.

First, set up an area in your house for exercise and determine what exercise you will do, Flynn advised.

Depending on the exercise you want to do, you may want to invest in equipment such as:

But there are other options if you don’t want to splash any cash. Flynn suggests putting on some music and having a dance or completing a gentle full-body workout. You can create your own or find one you like on YouTube.

“There are no rules as long as it raises your heart rate,” Flynn encourages.

Crawley shared similar advice. If you aren’t sure what to do, she suggests sticking to your favorite music and moving in the way your body wants to.

Finally, carve out time for it. Cozy Cardio should make finding the time to exercise a little easier. Scheduling your workouts can help as well.

Crawley recommends setting time aside for yourself. You might like to schedule movement for the time of day you feel most energetic or in tune with yourself.

“You could set a time before or after work hours,” Crawley suggested.

Getting started is probably the hardest part.

“Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take it step by step,” Flynn advised.

“If you’re not exercising at all, aim to get 30 minutes in a week and build up from there. And don’t forget that it doesn’t need to be all in one go — you could break it into 10 minutes over 3 days.”

Grueling strength workouts and slogans like ‘no pain, no gain’ may have become popular on social media, but Cozy Cardio is a trend that takes a much kinder and gentler approach.

This can help you build positive long-term fitness habits.

Embarking on any new health and fitness endeavor can be intimidating. By starting gently, you can build up self-compassion and realize that you don’t need to push yourself too hard to tap into your personal best.

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