No pain, only gain
Here are some low-key workout routines that let you stay fit without stepping out of your comfort zone
The path to fitness was never easy. Intense diets, hardcore exercises, and an almost soldier-like discipline have been the only known mantra. That is, until now. The new buzzwords in the workout world are lazy, cozy, and shy. The emerging wave of counter-trends focuses on comfortable spaces and easy-to-do low-impact movements.
By championing comfort and convenience over calorie burn, it creates an environment that encourages exercising without excuses.
Cosy at Core
“It’s all about removing the barriers to exercising,” says Kunal Rajput, a Mumbai-based fitness expert and professional S&C coach at Nike, India. That is likely what American content creator Hope Zuckerbrow was thinking when she came up with the ‘cozy cardio’ trend in 2022. With the Danish lifestyle philosophy, Hygge, at its core, emphasizes a relaxed and enjoyable experience over a traditionally pump-inducing one. Zuckerbrow demonstrated her morning routine in a TikTok video, where she rolls out of bed, fills up a water bottle, prepares iced coffee, dims the lights and creates a soothing ambiance with candles, and starts walking on the treadmill while watching a movie.
She then varies the intensity of the workout throughout the 40-minute session and concludes with a relaxing 10-minute cooldown. Her post has garnered over 1.5 million views. The best part about the trend is its flexibility. Propagating the hurdle-free bed-to-mat approach, the trend doesn’t require any activewear or even equipment. Sweatpants, pajamas, robes—anything and everything works.
Zuckerbrows treadmill walk can easily be replaced with a light yoga session, a circuit involving bodyweight squats, knee lifts, reverse lunges, leg curls and jumping rope, or any other gentle, low-impact activity.
The idea is to get one to enjoy the workout and gradually get them committed. “The most difficult part of any fitness journey is finding motivation. The trend gets people moving,” says Rajput, adding, “When you are comfortable and relaxed, you are more likely to stick with it. Of course, over time your body adapts and then you would subconsciously want more challenging routines.”
Tone at Home
If working out is the first thing you drop off your to-do list on low-energy days, then California-based fitness influencer Abby’s Lazy Girl Pilates routine is just what the trainer ordered. She unveiled the trend last month on social media, with promising conviction: “You don’t need to sweat buckets to see results.” Mumbai-based fitness coach and yoga expert Nawaz Modi Singhania agrees. She says, “Pilates is a low-impact workout that can be highly effective for toning muscles and improving flexibility.”
Lazy Girl Pilates appreciates a laid-back approach, literally. The routine—in which lying down serves as a crucial starting point—comprises six floor-based exercises: the glute bridge, table-top curl, juicy circles, bridge marches, single-leg bridges and figure-four stretch, all aimed at enhancing the strength and endurance of key muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings and core. Abby recommends three rounds where each exercise is performed for 30 seconds (unless specified differently). Like all workouts, this too boosts endorphins but, if incorporated over a prolonged period of time, the routine has also proven to help improve back strength, posture, walking and running abilities, as well as reduce the risk of injuries.
If you are a woman fitness enthusiast who feels overwhelmed at the idea of working out at a gym, then the shy girl workout is for you. Simple and easy, it lets you find a quiet corner in the space and go about your routine. The trend focuses on a set of exercises that uses limited space and minimum equipment, a pair of dumbbells is all you need. You can choose from weighted movements such as sumo squats, dumbbell deadlifts, overhead presses and bent-over rows, and then complement them with strengthening moves such as bicep curls, lateral raises, RDLs and glute bridges. “These moves require zero or minimal gym equipment, can be done in a small area, and include simple, easy-to-remember moves,” says Gurgaon-based fitness and yoga coach, Lakshita Vaid. Those who may feel lost about curating a routine for themselves can also log on to one of the #shygirlworkouts videos online for more step-by-step guidance.
Benefits of Low-impact training
•Exercises like walking, yoga and pilates, are gentle on joints and muscles, making them ideal for those with joint issues
•They lower the risk of acute injuries like sprain, strain, or stress fractures
•They are more sustainable due to their gentle nature
•Brisk walking or cycling provides cardiovascular benefits by increasing heart rate and improving circulation, while also reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
•They reduce stiffness and the risk of muscle pulls and also contribute to core strength, improved flexibility, and better bone density
•These workouts also reduce the risk of depression and anxiety by elevating mood and increasing energy levels