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Body + Mind

How The Cosy Cardio Trend Can Transform Your Winter Workouts

As winter rolls around, heading out to exercise in the dark and cold can be rather unappealing – especially if you equate it with getting sweaty and uncomfortable, as well as potentially less safe as a woman. Luckily, the cosy cardio trend has arrived just in time to help you transform your winter workouts.

A TikTok trend (and community) started by content creator, Hope Zuckerbrow, the concept of cosy cardio is to make exercising easy – and it works particularly well to help motivate you in the winter months. Read on to discover exactly what cosy cardio is and how to make it work for your new winter exercise routine.

What is the cosy cardio trend?

“I want cosy cardio to be a movement for women to reclaim their relationship with exercise,” explains Zuckerbrow on her social media account. “Society puts so much pressure on women to look a certain way and, because of that, a lot of us have turned exercise into a punishment or a means of solely working off the calories from a last delicious meal.”

“Cosy cardio rewrites all of that. It looks different for everyone but my version looks like ambient lighting, the flicker of a candle, the taste of my favourite protein coffee, or the comfort of the show I’m binging… while walking on my walking pad or doing a 30-minute workout on my living room floor. It’s meant to take the pressure off and help you enjoy movement again.”

To put it plainly, cosy cardio involves low impact workouts that are designed to be good for your mind, as well as your body. It’s a concept that can help you create a fitness routine that feels manageable, while targeting goals such as weight loss if you wish – but in an atmosphere you enjoy, rather than as part of aggressive and exhausting plans.

The workouts to try


Stretching, Pilates and yoga – all are ready to be ‘made cosy’ as part of your new workout routine. When you get home from work or social plans, don’t make a bee-line for the sofa. Instead, light a candle, lay out your yoga mat (a bath mat will do just as well), and play your favourite soothing music. It doesn’t even have to be traditional spa sounds. You can follow along to a whole host of slow, mindful stretching videos online, and wait for the busyness of your day to melt away. If you have a fire, now is the time to light it, to intensify the warm, cossetting feel – or otherwise, invest in some mood lighting that is easily sourced online. If you struggle with insomnia, you may even find that doing a routine like this – which takes you away from your laptop and phone for 30 minutes – can be the perfect way to fit exercise into your life and make sure you’re better ready for bed.

Flat treadmills

Not since the pandemic has the demand for at-home workout tools been so high, and for cosy cardio it’s specifically flat treadmills that are coming to the fore. Zuckerbrow is a particular advocate for walking pads, which you can set up in the comfort of your living room, alongside a cosy candle and soft lighting. They allow you to walk at a comfortable speed, while watching TV or even reading a book, and you don’t have to deal with the vibration, noise or size of a traditional treadmill – so they are suitable for flat living too. Zuckerbrow particularly likes to do this as part of her wake-up routine, however you could also turn your WFH set-up into a cosy cardio workout, by using your flat treadmill while working at a standing desk, or sitting on your exercise ball instead of a normal chair.

Braving the outside world

Cosy cardio is also about making working out a natural part of your day-to-day life, so it doesn’t feel like an additional chore. Next time you have an hour or so free, get dressed in your favourite cosy workout gear, help yourself to your favourite warm drink in a flask, and go for a stroll, with a new podcast or music playlist in your ears. You’ll be surprised how far you can walk in this time, with the benefit of being outside and without having to slog your way through a run.

To really motivate yourself, why not book a place for brunch at a location two or three miles away from your house, or try a service like Borrow My Doggy to have a fluffy friend in tow. It’s a chance to try something new, explore your local area (perhaps little further afield than you usually do on foot), and you can reward yourself for your (not-so) hard work at the same time.

At the gym

The gym can often feel like an intimidating place – especially if you don’t go often – and the willpower to go only decreases when it’s dark outside. However, it’s easier than you think to get ‘cosy’ at the gym, and there’s the bonus of a potential sauna or jacuzzi to relax in afterwards.

It could be as simple as tuning in to your favourite series on your phone while you walk or jog on the treadmill (some places even have Netflix built into their machines now), or by choosing a yoga class that focuses on smooth flow, soft lighting and a warm environment. If your gym has Technogym equipment you can go one step further. The company’s weight machines have ‘game modes’ when you can compete with yourself to do a certain amount of reps or weight combinations, while completing video game-based challenges. Your session will be done before you know it.

Your workout edit

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Lead image credit: Varley

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