If you are into fitness trends, by this time you’ve probably heard the term “HIIT.” High Intensity Interval Training has taken the fitness world by storm, promising intense workouts that are quick and burn large amounts of calories.
As much as I appreciate a good HIIT sweat session (I’m about to head to one today …), I’m a runner at heart, and I can’t do high intensity workouts all the time. Thankfully for me, what is making a comeback are LISS workouts – Low Intensity Steady State cardio. Similar to HIIT, the name speaks for itself: it is any form of cardio where you maintain the same pace for a set period of time.
Think traditional grade school activities like running, biking and swimming. A few months ago I wrote about the benefits of walking as a workout. And in January, fellow aSweatLife writer, Dani Kruger, taught us how to row, which is an amazing LISS total body workout. These workouts are great because you don’t have to wait for a class time or do them inside a specific gym. You can take advantage of the great outdoors and do a LISS activity when it works in your schedule! Popsugar provided even more ideas for steady-state cardio if you’re looking for even more ideas.
So why is LISS making a comeback?
Cathartic: For those of us that enjoy a long, mental workout, LISS fills that need. It is the marathon while HIIT is the sprint. It gives you time to watch a TV show on the treadmill, listen to a podcast while running or enjoy the outdoors while biking.
Active Recovery: LISS has a significantly lower likelihood of injury, so it works well as a way to keep moving but give your muscles a break after 500 lunges the day before. It gets blood flowing through the muscles at a gentler rate.
Simplicity: LISS workouts are not necessary easy, but they are easy to understand. Going for a long walk, or building up the distance on a run over a period of time is a more digestible concept than jumping into a bootcamp class that leaves you barely able to get out of bed the next morning. You don’t have to worry about making that box jump or being out of rhythm with the beat.
Social: I don’t know about you, but I am not usually chatting my way through a HIIT class. They are hard work and I always leave with a great sense of achievement. However, if a friend is in town and I want a good catch-up while also staying active, a long walk is a perfect way to achieve that. There are also a ton of running groups that can help you meet new people if you moved to the city or just enjoy being a social butterfly.
When should you do LISS?
Just like anything in life, it is best to maintain a balance with your workouts. Keeping your body guessing continues to build your muscles and stamina, and also helps to burn more calories if you’re on a fitness journey. Use LISS to break up your routine and as active recovery days, or do LISS more frequently and use HIIT classes to throw spice into your regimen. LISS is also perfect for those lazy days when a HIIT class just seems a little too ambitious, but you still need to move away from the black hole of a comfy couch and Netflix.
Good luck LISS-ing (just made that up, probably shouldn’t use it again) – I’ll see you on the Lakeshore path!