'I just learned about ‘cosy cardio’ and now I’m throwing my sports bras in the bin.'

I used to be a HIIT training fanatic.

When it came to exercise, I was tragically devoted to team ‘No pain no gain.’ ‘The harder the better’ was my mantra, and oh boy did my body hate me for it.

My brain lit up from the challenge, the burn, the rush of endorphins, but as new injuries started popping up monthly, and I began to wince whenever I had to get up off the loo (leg day, amirite?) I started to wonder if this kind of exercise was actually right for me.

Isn’t movement supposed to be life-enhancing? Well, mine was anything but, and after two chronic illness diagnoses, and recovery from an eating disorder (no surprises there), my return to fitness has been both gradual and gentle – two words I never used to associate with exercise.

Enter ‘cosy cardio’ – not just the wellness trend we need, the one we deserve. 

Brought to us by American TikToker Hope Zuckerbrow, the trend involves getting your daily movement in, while staying in your comfies, sipping on an iced coffee, and in her case, even scrolling through your favourite streaming channels for something cute to watch, “I’m gonna go with Sydney White, I’ve never seen it before!” She says in this now viral video with views 1.5 million.

@hope_zuckerbrow cozy cardio🫶🏻 #fyp #cardio #cozy #weightloss #walkingpad ♬ Blue Moon - Muspace Lofi

One thing that sets these workouts apart is the fact that Zuckerbrow curates the entire experience to essentially personify the words ‘self-care’.  

She keeps the downlights off, instead lighting candles with names such as ‘Cosy Comfort’ (of course), she dons fuzzy flamingo socks (that I’m currently opening a new tab on my browser to search for), and a comfy looking oversized T-shirt. She jumps on her walking pad (super affordable and unobtrusive in a small space) and works through some gentle intervals, then calls it a day upon reaching just over 2.5km. 


The whole set up is one of the most accessible representations of working out I’ve ever seen, and as a former over-exerciser, it makes my heart sing. 

What really gets me about this trend, is how low-key subversive the whole thing is – it’s an antidote to the choke hold diet culture has long held over our idea of what it means to exercise.

In my late teens and early twenties, I learned that fitness meant pain. It was often guilt-driven, always gruelling, and performed for the sole purpose of weight loss. Light walks or a yoga class weren’t really ‘working out’, they were something you did on your scheduled rest day to ensure your body was ready for the next week of punishing workouts. 

There was never a hint of a suggestion that all movement counts, all of it is good if it feels good, and none of it has to hurt. So, while I’m scrolling through the ‘cosy cardio’ hashtag (now with 1.6 million views), I’m thinking of all the young women watching on as a kinder way to treat themselves is celebrated, and I am LIVING for it. 

Now, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that Hope Zuckerbrow is technically speaking, a weight loss influencer, having lost a large amount of weight and documented the process quite candidly for her TikTok followers. But in a way, this makes the whole ‘cosy cardio’ thing even more exceptional.

While you're here, try the midday movement break by Go Chlo. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

It went viral in a space known for celebrating extreme methods of restriction and workouts optimising calories burned over the wellbeing of the participant. Speaking to her followers about the movement, Zuckerbrow shares, “Cosy cardio was started to help heal my own relationship with exercise, but it quickly turned into a form of meditational self-love.”

In the video, she acknowledges how much pressure women are under to look a certain way, and how, for many of us, exercise is used as a form of punishment, an atonement for the food we eat. 

“It’s meant to take the pressure of. It’s meant to help you enjoy movement again. It’s meant to each you that your worth setting time aside for your body deserves it, but your mind does more.” 

Zuckerbrow doesn’t limit her cosy workouts to strictly cardio either, she says she’s also partial to a 30-minute workout on her living room floor, “all in the comfort of my cosy set up.”

The sky really in the limit when it comes to what you can achieve without leaving your bedroom. And as a person for whom walking into a big smelly gym is akin to having an hour-long pap test, this movement is the kind my body (and mind) can really get behind.

So with that, I’m going to slip into my floofy purple socks, put on season six of Selling Sunset and get stuck into some cardio and Pilates on my bedroom floor.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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