To many, a great workout involves a heart rate near to bursting and being drenched in a monsoon’s worth of sweat. Most group fitness classes are designed and marketed this way too. You know the ones. Red lighting in an otherwise dark room, illuminating a drop of sweat rolling over someone’s sculpted abs in slow motion.
Some days you wake up, and the idea of putting in that much effort to work up a sweat seems so daunting, it keeps you from trying at all. But the reality is, high intensity isn’t your only option for fat loss and heart health.
The most effective form of cardio exercise is the one that you can commit to consistently. Are you more likely to take a brisk 60-minute walk three times a week? Or are you someone who prefers 20-minute sessions, but can push themselves to 90% of their maximum effort in that time? That’s where LISS (low-intensity steady state) comes into play. Here are some reasons LISS may be the exercise choice for you.
You Can Stick With It
A study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine compared the effects of three 20-minute sessions of low-intensity steady state (LISS) exercise, to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) over eight weeks. The physiological changes in the group were similar, but the HIIT participants reported less enjoyment in their training over time.
Although more calories are burned with high-intensity training, the relative ease of low-intensity exercise allows you to perform for longer, ultimately achieving comparable calorie outputs.
It’s Great for Getting Back into a Workout Routine
If you are new to exercising or picking it up again after a break, LISS may be a safe way to get you started. It also has a gentler impact, making it ideal for those with joint or ligament issues, and increases blood flow to injured or damaged muscles, helping them heal faster!
So, where should you start? The easiest (and free!) method is walking at a moderate pace. As long as you keep moving, it counts! Hiking, cycling, swimming, surfing or any of the cardio equipment at the gym is also an option.
All Exercise is Good Exercise
Remember, you don’t need to pick one or the other. A combination of HIIT and LISS is excellent for fat loss and overall health. HIIT is great for burning stored body fat and for increasing aerobic capacity. LISS allows you to breathe more steadily, allowing more oxygen circulation than HIIT, which is needed to burn fat. Combining the two can be a great option.
Whatever you choose, listen to your body and enjoy the sweat!