What is convenient cardio? Here’s what happened when I tried this TikTok trend

I know what you are thinking the words cozy and cardio are opposites, and there is no way the two can be combined in a soft way to get your daily exercise.

That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about the new trend, too. Cardio is uncomfortable! It’s sweaty, breathless, exhilarating, exhausting, and about as far from comfortable as you can get. How about an adjective I use to describe lounging in my pajamas and re-watching The office apply to the heart-pumping activities I do to stay fit?

Curious, I researched convenient cardio and decided to give it a try. Remember that what’s right for me may not be right for you as with all things exercise, be sure to check with a medical professional before starting any new fitness regimen.

What is convenient cardio?

First introduced in a now-viral TikTok, content creator Hope Zuckerbrow coined the term cozy cardio to describe her morning workout routine: she wakes up before sunrise, makes an iced protein coffee, lights a few scented candles in a dark room, finds a television show or movie theater he wants to watch , then hops on a treadmill for 40 minutes. At the end of his session, he walked 2.65 kilometers and burned about 170 calories (It should be pointed out here that the calorie counts on most pieces of cardio equipment are inaccurate, but the number of calories you burn is not actually the more focused below) .

In a follow TikTok, Zuckerbrow further explains the leisurely pace of cardio. I want casual cardio to be a movement for women to reclaim their relationships with exercise, she says. Comfort cardio was started to help heal my own relationship through exercise but quickly became a form of self-reflection. It was meant to take the pressure off. It aims to help you enjoy movement again. It’s meant to teach you that it’s worth your time. Your body deserves it, but your mind even more.

He added that while he enjoys walking on his treadmill, he’s also been known to do a 30-minute workout on his living room floor. Cozy looks different for everyone, but my version looks like ambiance lighting, the flickering of a candle, the taste of my favorite protein coffee, or the comfort of the show Im binging. I just apply that to my exercise.

A photo of a woman exercising on a treadmill at home

Here’s what happened when I tried convenient cardio

There was nothing about my regular cardio routine that could be considered comfortable, so I knew my entry into this trend would be a departure from the norm.

Since I don’t have a treadmill, I decided to ride my spin bike. Luckily for me, the timing of this challenge worked so well that the lights on my Christmas tree provided a beautiful ambiance that fit the cozy bill perfectly. I lit a few candles, found a documentary on Max Ive waiting to be watched, and started pedaling. Here are a few things I’ve noticed about my leisurely cardio sessions:

It reminds me a lot of SoulCycle

Before the pandemic, I was known to frequent a few SoulCycle classes from time to time. The main thing that always attracts me to the studio is the unique ambiance is well recreated in my cozy cardio experience.

Loud music, louder instructors, and the frenetic energy of bodies pedaling to the beat are gone, but you can always turn up the volume on your favorite playlist and bring back at least one of those aspects.

I forgot I was exercising

By the time I was about 15 minutes into my 45 minute leisurely cardio session, I kind of forgot I was working out. My breathing was steady and controlled, my heart rate increased slightly but not distractingly, and my attention was focused on the show I was watching.

For someone with a severe aversion to exercise, convenient cardio can be a real game changer. All the cozy elements really do wonders to distract you from the fact that you are currently doing cardiovascular exercise.

Time passed quickly

When my Apple Watch beeped indicating that my 45 minutes of leisurely cardio was over, I was honestly shocked. If you asked me at this moment, I would estimate that 15 or 20 minutes had passed.

Again, this can be pretty groundbreaking for cardio haters. Instead of counting every second in agony, minutes fly by as you enjoy your surroundings.

I realized that I have been recommending it (unknowingly) to clients for years

As a personal trainer, I find that many of my clients struggle to exercise on their own. Whether it’s a lack of time or motivation, setting aside 30 minutes for a walk, bike ride, or some resistance training circuit can be a pretty daunting prospect.

A trick often passed on by pain is to save your favorite TV show, podcast episode, or new album release for your exercise session. Not only does this motivate you to exercise, but you associate movement with doing something you enjoy. That seems to be the same kind of thinking behind the convenient movement of pairing cardio with a pleasurable sensory experience.

Jury decision? I can definitely see both the physical and mental benefits of leisurely cardio. As creator Hope Zuckerbrow described it, the whole experience felt very meditative and self-soothing, which is not how most people would describe exercise.

Ultimately though, my personality is better suited to more traditional cardio fare the sweaty intensity of treadmill running and elliptical sessions keep my mood balanced. For those who feel otherwise, cozying up to your cardio is a revolutionary way to make it a lifelong habit.

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