I know what you’re thinking—the words “comfortable” and “cardio” are opposites, and there’s no way you can combine the two as a comfortable way to exercise daily.
This is exactly what I thought when I heard about the new trend for the first time. Cardio is not comfortable! It’s sweaty, breathless, exhilarating, exhausting, and about as far from “comfortable” as you can get. How the adjective I use to describe lounging in pajamas and re-watching? Office can be applied to the heart pounding activities I do to stay fit?
Wanting to find out, I did some research on nice cardio and decided to give it a try. Remember that what works for me may not work for you – as with all exercise, be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.
@hope_zuckerbrow ♬ Blue Moon – Muspace Lofi
What is comfortable cardio?
First introduced in a the now viral TikTok, creator Hope Zuckerbrow coined the term “cozy cardio” to describe her early morning workout routine: she wakes up before sunrise, makes an iced protein coffee, lights a few scented candles in a dark room, finds a TV show or movie. I would like to watch and then jump on the treadmill for 40 minutes. By the end of his workout, he’s walked 2.65 kilometers and burned almost 170 calories (I stress here that the calorie counts on most cardio equipment are woefully inaccurate, but the number of calories you burn isn’t really the focus – more on that below).
Inside something follow TikTok, Zuckerbrow further explained the cozy cardio trend. “I want Cozy Kardio to be a movement where women can reclaim their relationship with exercise,” she said. “Kotoisa Kardio was started to improve my own relationship with exercise, but it quickly turned into a kind of meditative self-love. Its purpose is to relieve pressure. Its purpose is to help you enjoy exercise again. It’s meant to teach you that you should take your time. Your body deserves it, but your mind does more.”
She adds that while she enjoys walking on her treadmill, she’s also been known to do a 30-minute workout on her living room floor. “Cozy looks different to everyone, but my version looks like mood lighting, the flickering of a candle, the taste of my favorite protein coffee, or the comfort of a drink presentation. I only applied it in my training.”
That’s what happened when I tried cardio at home
There’s nothing in my regular cardio routine that would ever be considered “comfortable,” so I knew this trend was out of the ordinary.
Since I don’t have a treadmill, I decided to hop on my spin bike instead. Fortunately, the timing of this challenge worked out brilliantly – the Christmas tree lights created a beautiful atmosphere that was perfect for a “nice” bill. I lit a few candles, found a documentary on Max that I’ve been waiting to watch, and started pedaling. Here are some things I noticed about my comfortable cardio:
It reminded me a lot of SoulCycle
Before the pandemic, I was known to take a few SoulCycle classes now and then. The main thing that always drew me to the studio – the unique atmosphere – was beautifully recreated in my cozy cardio experience.
Loud music, an even louder director, and the frantic energy of bodies pedaling to the beat were missing, but you can always turn up the volume on your favorite playlist and get at least one of them back.
I forgot to exercise
About 15 minutes into my 45-minute cozy cardio workout, I forgot I was even working out. My breathing was steady and under control, my heart rate was slightly elevated but not disruptive, and my attention was focused on the show I was watching.
For someone who hates exercise, the cozy Kardio can be a real game changer. All the “nice” elements really do wonders to distract you from the fact that you’re currently doing a cardiovascular workout.
Time passed really fast
When my Apple Watch buzzed to signal that my 45 minutes of comfortable cardio was over, I was really bummed. If you had asked me right now, I would have estimated that 15 or 20 minutes would have passed.
Again, this could be pretty groundbreaking for those who hate cardio. Instead of counting every second in utter agony, the minutes will pass as you enjoy your surroundings.
I realized that I have been (unknowingly) recommending it to clients for years
As a personal trainer, I notice that many of my clients have difficulty adjusting to training alone. Whether it’s a lack of time or a lack of motivation, taking 30 minutes to walk, bike or do a few resistance training rounds can be quite a daunting prospect.
A “trick” I often pass on is to record your favorite TV show, podcast episode, or new album release for your workout. Not only does it motivate you to exercise, but you associate movement with something you enjoy. It seems to be the same idea behind a comfortable cardio workout – connecting movement with an enjoyable sensory experience.
Judgment? I can definitely see both the physical and mental benefits of a nice cardio workout. As creator Hope Zuckerbrow described it, the whole experience felt very meditative and self-soothing, which most people never describe exercise as.
At the end of the day, though, my Personality is better suited to more traditional cardio – the sweaty intensity of the treadmill and elliptical keeps my mood balanced. For those who think otherwise, rejuvenating cardio is a revolutionary way to make it a lifelong habit.
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