Because I live my life in extremes (damn pesky brain with its unbalanced dopamine and serotonin levels), I’m either going to the gym every day or I’m bed rotting. There is no in between.
I’ve just now come to realize that this all-or-nothing cycle has been repeating itself pretty much my whole adult life. Push myself too hard, then burn out. Rinse and repeat.
Currently, I’m in the phase where I struggle with the motivation to work out (or, really, to do anything, but that’s a tangent for another time). Definitely doesn’t help that it now feels like midnight at 4 p.m.
I need balance. And much to my surprise, I’m starting to find it with the help of a TikTok trend called “cozy cardio.”
Cozy cardio is basically doing gentle cardio, like walking, in a calm, cozy environment. As someone who has literally googled “strength training moves to do from your bed,” this sounded like a dream come true to me.
The concept was popularized on TikTok by Hope Zuckerbrow, who was looking for a way to help heal her relationship with exercise and make it enjoyable again. So she made her living room feel cozy with candles and colored lights and started doing light strolls on a walking pad with an iced coffee in hand and a romcom playing on the tv.
Yep. Into it.
Here’s how I set up my cozy cardio routine:
I got a bunch of smokeless, unscented candles, to which I added in some of my own scented candles. When I do cozy cardio, I pick just one scented candle to light, so I get a little aroma without it being overpowering or busy.
I also got a walking pad. At first, I was hesitant to buy one because I was afraid I wouldn’t actually use it. But I found that many of them are relatively affordable and decided to go for it. Also, I couldn’t really think of any other kind of light cardio that wouldn’t require any brainpower to do.
Unfortunately, I know from previous experience that if I start my morning with a movie or show, it really messes with my ability to be productive. So that part was out for me. So I either listen to a podcast or the 1989 (Taylor’s Version) vault songs on repeat.
Instead of iced coffee, I sip on a mug of hot decaffeinated tea. I crash if I drink caffeine too early in the day, so I’ve been trying to wait to have it until after breakfast.
I usually walk for around 30 minutes. If it’s a particularly dark, gloomy morning, I turn on my SAD lamp as well.
As I’ve started incorporating cozy cardio into my morning routine, I’ve noticed that it’s actually become easier for me to get out of bed. I look forward to listening to my podcast and being surrounded by candles. It helps me start my day on a more mindful, calm note. I also love that I can literally do it in my pajamas.
I know that cozy cardio can’t be my only form of exercise. It’s super important for women to do strength training, and I want to get into a Pilates or yoga routine as well. Before, that was feeling impossible. But because cozy cardio is so non-intimidating, it’s helping me to establish a routine and build up my motivation.
Turns out, it’s a lot easier to get jazzed about working out when it doesn’t feel like a punishment!
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