In this article, I’ll introduce an easy, soothing workout: Low Intensity Steady State cardio. You can train LISS anywhere, without any equipment, and add it to any workout plan easily. The main benefits are improved posture, increased flexibility, and fat burning. I’ll also touch briefly on how it compares to HIIT.
Read on to find what LISS is and how much you’re already doing it!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
LISS is a style of cardiovascular exercise that’s done at a steady pace for a longer period of time. In more scientific terms, LISS takes place at 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, depending on your activity level.
The easiest way to be sure is think “Am I able to hold a conversation right now?” If the answer is yes, keep going! If the answer is no, slow down – LISS isn’t designed to set records. LISS sessions should last 30-60 minutes at this steady pace with no breaks in between. After 20 minutes, your body may start burning fat, and after 30 you start conditioning your heart and cardiovascular system.
The steady pace and low joint impact makes LISS ideal for beginners and those recovering from injury alike. If you’re often training in high-impact environments like weightlifting or circuit training, your body needs a breath of fresh air. LISS is a good way to burn calories on rest days, and has been shown to increase recovery rate. By working out in a low-stress environment, you will also notice posture and flexibility improvements in the long run.
No Equipment, No Calculations, No Stress!
Unlike a lot of workouts, you can train LISS anywhere, any time, and in almost any weather. The only “rules” are: Keep moving for at least 30 minutes, and maintain a pace that you can hold a conversation at.
LISS can be as simple as a brisk walk to work or taking your bike for a spin. If you have a little furry rascal around the house, even better. Dogs love long walks! You should train LISS at least once per week to condition your cardiovascular system. You can even train every day if you wish because of the low impact on your joints.
I’m quite avid about fitness: from relaxed morning yoga to intense powerlifting regimes. And I have to say, LISS has been a staple throughout my life. When focusing on increasing my overall strength, I always gave my joints a break with steady jogs.
While marathon training, I always planned a walk… well, run… in the park, to slow down and enjoy the view. If you’re an avid hiker, why not pick a flat trail and try finish it quicker than usual? Regardless of your fitness level, there’s definitely room for LISS.
HIIT and LISS; a healthy Mix n’ Match
Before the surge of “Hight Intensity Impact Training”, HIIT, which brings massive fat-burning benefits, LISS was the go-to form of cardio. However, a combination of HIIT and LISS provides many more benefits than either alone. If you’re regularly performing HIIT sessions, you’ll need to take some days off for your joints to recover. LISS complements this regimen by allowing you to burn calories without impacting your joints on rest days. I’ve recently written a post introducing HIIT workouts, be sure to check it out here and draw your own conclusions!