TikTok has a big influence on lots of choices and habits, such as what we cook, eat and buy, and how we exercise. From at-home fitness tips to training challenges, there’s no shortage of inspiration on the social media platform.
A recent fitness trend on the app called cozy cardio takes a unique approach to workouts that may help make exercise more approachable and less strenuous. “Cozy cardio offers strategies people can use to start a low-impact cardio routine," says Alexander Michaels, M.D., a cardiologist at Henry Ford Health. "It can help somebody who is not a regular exerciser get into the habit of moving.”
What Is Cozy Cardio?
Most exercises rely on counting reps or adding heavier weight, but the “cozy” part of cozy cardio emphasizes how you feel. “It’s about creating a space where you feel more comfortable and confident, so you start exercising and enjoy it," says Dr. Michaels.
Whether you want your at-home workout environment to be relaxing, stress-free, fun, warm or all of the above, these cozy examples may help set the scene:
- Turn on your favorite TV show or movie
- Listen to an audiobook
- Light candles or dim your lights
- Use an aromatherapy diffuser
- Play relaxing music
- Create a silent space
- Make a cup of tea
Cozy Cardio Benefits
Cozy cardio may be the most beneficial for people who are reintroducing their body to working out , or just starting for the first time. People who train often might slip in a cozy cardio day when they feel too low-energy for a strenuous workout. "You can try cozy cardio and get some benefits from moving instead of being too hard on yourself for missing a workout,” says Dr. Michaels.
For people who might be nervous to work out at the gym or need a new approach to exercise, cozy cardio could help you move more consistently. “It’s a low-cost, low-commitment starting point that reduces a lot of the barriers to exercising, including lack of time or gym fees,” says Dr. Michaels. “It removes hesitation and nervousness about starting a workout program.”
Cozy cardio may not only benefit your physical fitness but your mental health too. These cozy examples and exercises may help with depression and boost your well-being in addition to offering physical benefits.
Is Cozy Cardio Effective?
You might be wondering how cozy cardio compares to traditional fitness, such as running on a treadmill. “The biggest difference in cozy cardio versus traditional cardio exercise is the goal is just to start moving. There’s not an emphasis on a particular amount of time, intensity or step count,” says Dr. Michaels. “Some people think if you’re not sweating or huffing and puffing, it isn’t an effective workout, but that’s not true. Daily low-intensity movement can reduce your risk of death by nearly 10%, and that’s huge.”
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 30 minutes of exercise five days per week. If you’re new to working out or want to enjoy exercising more—or need a more consistent routine—cozy cardio might help you get those minutes in. “Use cozy cardio as your starting point but when you’re ready, transition into more intensive exercises with additional health benefits. Any movement is good, more movement is better,” Dr. Michaels says.
Reviewed by Dr. Alexander Michaels, a cardiologist who sees patients at Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Medical Center - Saginaw.