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TikTok influencers do 'cozy cardio' for a relaxed workout

Aug 12, 2023



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Dimming the lights, sparking some candles, flicking on Netflix and preparing to chill sounds like the serene setting for a sexy night in bed.

But for part-time New Yorker Allie Bennett, it’s how she and other fitness enthusiasts kick off their day — with an unfussy, 30- to 60-minute workout on a treadmill or walking pad.

“Cozy cardio is a really great way to honor your body and prioritize your peace through movement,” Bennett, 24, a health and lifestyle influencer, told The Post of the latest TikTok viral exercise movement — which was popularized by wellness creator Hope Zuckerbrow in March.

On the app, where the fast-growing hashtag #CozyCardio has achieved over 1 million views, women of all walks of life are creating a soothing scene for getting active, seeing some, like Zuckerbrow, hit their walking equipment in a comfy set of pajamas and fuzzy socks.

It’s a low-impact, anti-HIIT workout — much like the buzzy #HotGirlWalk and the virtual Pvolve program — that offers participants the opportunity to step at their own pace, burn calories and revel in some restful, albeit impactful “me” time from the comfort of their living rooms.

Cozy cardio, too, eliminates the pressures of “gymtimidation” — the worry that muscleheads at health clubs are judging their bodies and physical capabilities.

In fact, a September 2019 study via Sure Women found that 1 in 4 women shy away from exercising in public for fear of being criticized by nitpickers.

The results showed Gen Z women 18 to 24 years old had the most anxiety about being negatively viewed while exercising.

And NYC fitness experts say cozy cardio is a phobia-free solution that gets otherwise sedentary folks moving.

“For people who prefer to work out on their own, this is a great option,” Sadie Kurzban, founder and CEO of the 305 Fitness studio in downtown Manhattan, told The Post. “It doesn’t matter if you’re walking in the gym, at home, or even outside, it’s about doing what makes you the most comfortable and what’s going to hold you accountable every day.”

Ianthe Mellors, a group fitness instructor and professional dancers, says cozy cardio walks offer her a welcome mental health boost.

“It’s a great method for shaking a bad mood,” she said. “I do a 20-minute walk listening to a podcast, my favorite album or audiobook, and by the end of it, my head is clearer, and my mood is infinitely better.”

Bennett agrees.

“It’s a fun, peaceful way to move your body in a way that doesn’t hurt, and in a space that’s not intimidating,” said the blond, who splits her time between Manhattan and her hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. “You’re working out, but you’re away from the gym or an instructor yelling at you.”

“You’re at home, in an environment that makes you feel at ease,” she added, “and doing something positive for yourself and your body in an extra comfortable way.”

welcome to club treadmill strut ((cozy cardio inspo: @hope 💅🏻🫶🏼🕺🏻)) #treadmillstrut #cardio

For her cozy cardio sessions, Bennett — who founded the trendy “treadmill strut” — likes to fire up her sunset lamp, which beams cool purple and green lights around a dark room; crank up the tunes on her “One Direction” playlist; hop on her walking machine; and sip a tasty energy drink for 30 minutes.

Rather than panting through the exercise at a high-intensity speed, she enjoys a leisurely stroll at tempos between 2.9 and 3.4.

Bennett doesn’t monitor her calorie burn or the number of steps she takes during the walks, as she claims the emotional benefits of the tranquil workouts outweigh their immediate effects on her weight.

“I feel fabulous during and after a cozy cardio walk,” she explained. “My focus isn’t on weight loss during that time. It’s about moving my body and getting those endorphins — but I do work up a nice sweat.”

Zuckerbrow, 25, however, has dropped more than a sprinkle of sweat since launching the cozy cardio craze at the top of the year.

“I’ve gone from a size 16 in jeans down to a size 12 — so it’s working,” the brunette, a content creator and caretaker from Dallas, told The Post. “I’ve been doing cozy cardio consistently for five days a week over the past five months.”

She dreamed up the Netflix and ‘mill trend after regaining about half of the 100 pounds she’d dropped from her once 255-pound frame in early 2022.

Zuckerbrow, who’s always been “terrified” of going to the gym, wanted to cut her excess fat in a relaxing and self-loving way.

“I wanted to take the weight back off in a way that felt good to me, not like punishment,” she said. “I’m a cozy girl to the core — I love feeling comfortable no matter what I’m doing — and cozy cardio has deeply improved my relationship with my body and exercise.”

cozy cardio🫶🏻 #fyp #cardio #cozy #weightloss #walkingpad

On TikTok, where footage of her daily moseys have clocked upwards of 1.7 million views, Zuckerbrow walks followers through her cozy-setting routine, which begins every day at 5:15 a.m.

After prepping a protein-packed ice coffee, she lights her three-wick “Cozy Comfort” scented candle, pops on a rom-com, and gets going on her Soozier walking pad — which retails for $200-$300 on Amazon — for 30 to 40 minutes.

And she’s happy that her set-up has inspired others to start sweating, too.

“I love to see so many people online embrace the trend,” she said.

“The only way you’re going to stay healthy and get fit is by doing what feels good to you and your body,” added Zuckerbrow, “not necessarily by forcing yourself to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

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