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Here’s How To Make the Most Out of the ‘Cozy Cardio’ Trend

It’s not the only exercise you should do, but this gentle way to get active can help you get out of a workout slump

Person on walking pad in living room, with TV on

When you think of exercise, the word “cozy” is likely the last thing that comes to mind. If anything, working out is usually about getting out of your comfort zone.

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But based on the popularity of a recent TikTok trend, more people are becoming curious about the idea of “cozy cardio” — a phrase that was born from everyday people documenting low-impact workouts online.

One TikTok creator’s routine is walking on her walking pad while watching TV, with a candle lit and focusing on creating a relaxing environment while she exercises.

Another example is doing gentle Pilates workout to your favorite playlist or podcast.

For many, cozy cardio may be the key to getting out of their workout slump. But what should you know before giving it a go? And is cozy cardio enough to keep you fit?

Exercise physiologist Katie Lawton, MEd, goes over the pros and cons of cozy cardio — and the importance of consistent exercise.

What is cozy cardio?

Cardio is a moderate-intensity type of workout that raises your heart rate, just enough for you to feel the effects of it even when you’re at rest. Why is it good? Because it helps lower your resting blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and increase the overall strength of your heart. 

So, it’s no surprise that cardio — also known as aerobic exercise — is recommended time and time again as a way to stay healthy and fit.

Think of cozy cardio as a cardio workout with softer edges. This catchy phrase frames cardiovascular endurance exercise in a more relaxed, low-pressure sort of way.

For example, a cozy cardio workout may combine different types of cardio exercises (walking, jumping jacks, cycling) with a cozy environment or activity as a way to make it more comfortable and approachable. Keep in mind: This may not always reach that moderate-intensity workout, but it certainly could, based on what you’re doing.

What does a cozy cardio workout consist of?

Ultimately, whether or not cozy cardio is beneficial will depend greatly on your fitness preferences and goals. But overall, this exercise is easily adaptable to your lifestyle and needs.

Some examples of a cozy cardio routine:

  • Walking on a treadmill or walking pad while watching your favorite show or YouTube video.
  • Doing a slow, but still challenging Pilates workout while listening to an encouraging playlist.
  • Jumping rope at home while listening to your favorite podcast or audiobook.

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The list goes on, depending on what kind of workouts attract you most. The one common denominator? Add an element of coziness in whatever way you can. Maybe it’s turning off the overhead lights, lighting some candles or wearing your favorite fuzzy socks to create a cozy vibe.

What are the benefits of cozy cardio?

Doing cardio in general has endless benefits. From keeping your heart strong to improving your flexibility and endurance, cardio is one of the best ways to get the most out of your exercise.

As long as you’re meeting a moderate-intensity workout, there’s no wrong way to do a cozy cardio workout. That’s why the biggest pro of this type of workout is that it can help make exercise a consistent habit.

If you’re just starting your workout journey, think of cozy cardio as a way to gently introduce yourself to exercise, without adding too high of expectations. Because when we add too much pressure on ourselves, we may come up with excuses about why we can’t work out: I don’t have a gym membership. I don’t feel like being around other people. It’s too cold to leave the house. I’m going to look stupid.

Cozy cardio steps in as a way to help meet yourself in the middle, turn off the excuses and take the first step.

Cozy cardio can also help if your consistent workout routine gets interrupted for whatever reason. Replacing your traditional workouts with cozy cardio once in a while can be a healthy medium. This way, you’re still doing something to move daily. After all, there’s no such thing as a “perfect workout,” just one that makes your body feel good.

“The American Heart Association recommendation is still 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise,” Lawton points out. “It’s generally good to try and make some type of plan to try and move daily.” Cozy cardio can help you do just that.

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Are there any downsides to cozy cardio?

The only downside of cozy cardio is there’s a risk of getting … too cozy with your workout. As Lawton explains, a good cardio workout means you’re getting your heart pumping. So, while cozy cardio can be a good way to get into a workout routine, you’ll eventually want to work your way up in terms of exercise difficulty.

“There’s a difference between activity and cardiovascular exercise,” she explains. “You need to be working out at moderate intensity at the very least for it to be considered cardiovascular exercise. So, with walking, that means walking at a pretty fast pace.”

Another thing that Lawton notes: Don’t just use cozy cardio as a temporary trend. Oftentimes, popular things online can lose their luster as soon as they gain it. She stresses the importance of having an exercise routine that sticks even after you stop seeing it on your social media feed.

“As long as you can keep it consistent, that’s great” she encourages. “Don’t just find this one thing, do it for one week and then drop it.”

The bottom line

There’s nothing wrong with finding new ways to get enjoyment out of exercise. If cozy cardio serves as an entry point to consistent exercise, keep it up!

At the same time, Lawton recommends challenging yourself and your body as best you can. And when you’re ready to take your workout to the next level? Working with a physical trainer or physiologist can help figure out the right exercise for you.

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Learn more about our editorial process.

Health Library
Aerobic Exercise

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