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What is ‘cosy cardio’, and should you practise it?

“No pain, no gain” — This is a common mantra that many fitness enthusiasts absolutely swear by. They believe that one must work extremely hard to reach their desired fitness levels. However, a new social media trend seems to flip this common belief. Several users believe that your daily cardio can be enjoyable and comforting, instead of painful.

But, what is the trend all about? Called ‘cosy cardio’, it typically involves indulging in low-impact exercise at home while staying comfortable. It shows people working out in comfortable clothes with dim lighting, their favourite movie or TV show on play, and even aromatherapy.

Promoting an accessible and relaxing way of incorporating exercise into one’s routine, the hashtag #cozycardio has amassed over 1.5 million views on TikTok. The term was coined by content creator Hope Zuckerbrow when she posted her cardio routines in 2022.

According to Women’s Health Mag, she introduced the concept in a video showing her early morning cosy cardio session, which involved activities such as filling up a water bottle, making an iced coffee, and lighting a candle while wearing her favourite fuzzy socks. Add to that, she also watches a rom-com while walking on her walking pad at a slow pace.

The outlet noted that throughout her 40-minute session, Zuckerbrow alternated between high and low intensity, making sure to do intervals at different speeds before finishing with a 10-minute cooldown.

However, it’s crucial to know if ‘cosy cardio’ is actually beneficial. According to Dr Dilip Gude, senior consultant physician, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, the key lies in finding a balance between comfort and exertion to ensure that the workout contributes to improving cardiovascular health and overall fitness.

“Cosy cardio is a new trend that’s catching up across the world. It is based on the principle that intense and exertional exercise is not warranted and instead, low-impact relaxed workout done at a comfort can suffice,” he said, adding that this may help those who are intimidated by gym environments with dominating trainers.

Dr Gude emphasised that it is about finding a perfect sustainable balance of intensity in exercise. “With cosy cardio, one can enjoy the process, especially coupling with relaxing music, aromatherapy, etc. It may also help reduce undue physical and mental stress that may raise heart rate.”

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Since intense exercise resulting in heart attacks is much more common in the younger age group, the expert believes that cosy cardio can calm and soothe the body while also burning calories.

“One should ensure that they get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. So, ensuring a balance between the duration and intensity of cosy cardio is important. Too little strain or too much exertion is discouraged. Endurance with low-intensity workouts for a longer duration every day helps,” Dr Gude said.

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