When I first heard the term “cozy cardio,” it sounded like a hygge dream come true. I’m actually not far off from the goal of creator Hope Zuckerbrow. For her, cozy cardio is intended to combine your preferred, comfortable ambience with some light exercise (like walking or at-home pilates). At its heart, it’s “movement for women to reclaim their relationships with exercise,” she has shared.
There are a few ways to enjoy the cozy cardio effect: You can light a candle, mix up your favourite pre-workout drink, set some mood lighting, or put on your favourite Netflix binge and hop on the treadmill to get your steps in. Cozy cardio is as much about a healthy mind as it is a healthy body. Here! For! That!
Meet the experts: Amanda Hart, CPT, is a NASM- and ACSM-certified personal trainer and holistic health coach. Rachelle Reed, CPT, PhD, is a NASM- and ACSM-certified trainer with a doctorate in exercise physiology. Denise Chakoian, CPT, is the owner and founder of CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree. She’s also a cancer exercise specialist and boutique fitness consultant
Since Zuckerbrow began posting about her cozy cardio routine, the trend has taken off, garnering many fans and even praise from The Sculpt Society’s founder Megan Roup. The term “cozy cardio” has 17 million Google search results and growing. It’s only natural to be curious about how effective it really is.
Read on for all the intel to help you understand the benefits of this TikTok trend, what trainers think of the workout, how to add cozy cardio to your routine and more.
Is cozy cardio a good workout?
Cozy cardio definitely can be an effective workout, but it might not be the best choice for everyone.
“I think someone might feel more comfortable in a session like this if they are new to exercise, or if they want to lose a large amount of weight and can begin this in their own home to create an area they can start their journey,” says Denise Chakoian, CPT, owner and founder of CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree.
“I think this will have staying power for people who do not enjoy working out with others, or feel that they only have time for exercise in the comforts of a small, quaint environment,” she adds.
4 Benefits Of Cozy Cardio
It serves as self-care
Cozy cardio can help reframe your relationship with exercise as a way to treat yourself. “Many of us have a disconnected idea of what movement should be,” explains Amanda Hart, CPT, trainer and holistic health coach. “Exercise should be enjoyed and looked at as an opportunity.” Instead of looking at exercise as a form of punishment or something necessary to burn off meals, cozy cardio pivots the intention of movement as a gift to yourself. Just as putting on your go-to undereye mask and a comfy robe at the end of the day is a form of self-care, so too is cozy cardio.
It’s naturally a sustainable routine
Cozy cardio is an activity you’ll actually want to do regularly because you set up your own ideal atmosphere in your home. “They have no reason to ‘skip’ their workout as it’s done from the comfort of their own home,” Hart says. “This can be a great solution for those who are intimidated by a gym setting or for those short on time.”
It’s accessible and welcoming
This trend doesn’t force you to spend extra cash on a gym membership or subscription or go anywhere at all. (You could invest in a treadmill, but you don’t have to.) Plus, the at-home workout provides privacy, a benefit for anyone who might feel vulnerable or exposed in gyms or fitness studios. There’s no specific dress code and you can wear whatever feels comfortable (leggings, t-shirt, or joggers, for example) in a judgment-free environment.
It boosts aerobic training
As long as you hit a level of moderate intensity, you will see all of the cardio benefits, says Rachelle Reed. These include a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and improved cardiorespiratory endurance (the capacity of both your heart and lungs to take in oxygen and distribute it throughout the body during exercise). A high level of cardiorespiratory endurance is one of the leading contributors to a longer lifespan, Reed says.
Cozy Cardio FAQ
Who should do cozy cardio?
“From a health promotion perspective, I love the idea of women (or men) adding cozy cardio into their physical activity routines each week,” Reed says. “With most adults falling short of meeting the minimum dose of recommended aerobic activity (150 minutes per week), trends like this do some great work in advocating for more movement, for more people, more often.”
While hopping on the cozy cardio bandwagon certainly can’t hurt, it might not be challenging enough for everyone. It’s most suitable for those who are new to fitness and want to start with small, attainable goals, says Hart. “While working out at home is super easy and convenient, it can inhibit progression after a certain point,” she adds.
“Eventually, you will run into a plateau and need other stimuli to continue to challenge yourself. Ongoing stimulus is needed for ongoing results!”
Once you get into a regular routine, thanks to cozy cardio or another modality, it’s a good idea to progress and add variety to your sweats. “Incorporating some higher intensity aerobic work and total body strength training into your weekly routine is key,” Reed says. “Cozy cardio can be a great addition to your workout routine. Once you’re in the habit of moving your body, I recommend you progress and also transition into a more well-rounded routine.”
Is cozy cardio good for weight loss?
Cozy cardio can be part of a weight loss regimen or help kick it off. “This type of workout can begin a journey to caloric burn and a steady state program for losing body fat,” says Chakoian.
And, there are more factors to think about. “Whether it’s cozy cardio or another cardio workout, weight loss is based on calories in and calories out,” says Chakoian. For goals like body fat loss and gaining muscle mass, you’ll need to make other changes as well.
How often should you do cozy cardio?
Cozy cardio is naturally low impact, low cost and super convenient, so you can definitely incorporate it every day, Hart says. Unlike other more challenging TikTok workout trends, like the 12-3-30 workout, there’s little to no risk of overdoing it.
While you could do safely cozy cardio every day, you’re better off spending your time doing a mix of different workouts, Reed says. That’s why she recommends only a few days a week of cozy cardio to get the benefits. To optimize your week, add in a day of higher-intensity cardio and two days of strength training for added metabolic conditioning and musculoskeletal health.
While working out in the comfort of your home definitely has benefits, you’re missing out on the community motivation and accountability of a group sesh, says Chakoian. “When you are working out with a group of people with like-minded goals or in a facility with a strong community, you can all keep each other accountable,” she says. “It has longer-lasting positive results and helps with your mental wellbeing as a whole.”
Bottom lineCozy cardio is a low-impact, at-home workout trend that is an excellent way to add more movement in your day and can be part of a well-rounded fitness routine. However, it may not be challenging enough for everyone, long-term.