Is Slowing Down the Secret to a Good Workout?

Like many other people starting their health and wellness journeys, you may be highly intimidated by boot camps, CrossFit classes, and any other workout plan that pushes you to your limits.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are popular among fitness gurus and bodybuilders, but you may feel like you need to start out slowly and work your way to that level.

If high-intensity exercise is too extreme for you, you may want to consider low-intensity steady state cardio (LISS). LISS has recently become a popular way to get moderate exercise that keeps your heart rate at a low-to-moderate level of intensity throughout the workout. Compared to HIIT workouts, LISS workouts tend to be longer (typically around 30-60 minutes) because you exercise at a moderate pace over time instead of maximum intensity exercises for short intervals. In short, if LISS is a marathon, HIIT is a sprint.

LISS workouts don’t have to be fancy or intricate. Simple exercises such as running, brisk walking, swimming, and biking can qualify as LISS exercises. If you are at the gym, try using the elliptical, rowing, or stair machines. Some Zumba, Pilates, and barre classes are great for LISS workouts as well.

Despite being a lighter form of exercise, there are plenty of benefits to a low-intensity workout:

  • LISS is great for beginners! The less extreme workout approach is a good start for those who want to work their way toward higher intensity workouts.
  • Low-intensity workouts are less rigorous for your joints and muscles, so they’re a good alternative or active rest activity for those with muscle or joint pains.
  • Longer workouts build your endurance.
  • Over time, low-intensity, long workouts may be able to lower your resting heart rate.
  • If you are not looking to build bulky muscles, low-intensity workouts do not build and strengthen muscles. However, this becomes a downside to LISS over time.
  • LISS is a good alternative for those recovering from HIIT workouts.

After the initial introduction to LISS, a balanced workout should incorporate both LISS and HIIT exercises into an overall workout schedule. This can involve either HIIT exercises one day and LISS for active recovery days, or you can do both in one trip to the gym.

Comment below with ways you would incorporate low-intensity steady state cardio into your workout schedule.

Photo credit: Hulagway

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  1. Thanks for sharing. I am always looking for new ways to stay in shape without hurting my body. I had never heard of LISS before. I like that it keeps my heart rate lower. I do not mind working out for 30-60 minutes. I’ll have to give this a try.

  2. I like the idea of low-intensity workouts. Maybe I’ll start mixing them in with medium intensity workouts. That could be a positive trend toward better recovery for me.

  3. I really like low-intensity workouts. For some people, high intensity provides too much shock to the body and the results backfire. Low-intensity exercise like walking or yoga lets you work out your muscles and train your heart without the negative effects. Plus, it can give benefits that are harder to achieve through high-intensity training, such as flexibility and endurance.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I am always looking for new ways to stay in shape without hurting my body. I had never heard of LISS before. I like that it keeps my heart rate lower. I do not mind working out for 30-60 minutes. I’ll have to give this a try.

  5. I’m really into Crossfit and want to get back to it eventually but after my pregnancy I wanted something a little less intense. LISS sounds like it’s worth a try so thanks for this!

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