For many of us, the idea of cardio or working out is filled with images of sweat-filled rooms, feeling like you’re running out of oxygen, or torturing your body through another round of hell! Although high-intensity training can be beneficial for your fitness journey, it’s not always the best thing or the necessary thing for our bodies.
LISS training has become a common word in the fitness industry, describing low-intensity steady-state training, a method of cardiovascular exercise in which you do aerobic activity at a low-to-moderate intensity for a continued, or often extended period of time.
High intensity interval training or (HIIT) involves alternating short bursts of intense cardio or strength movements, with your heart rate generally reaching 80 to 95 percent of your max and 40 to 50 percent for your low intensity intervals.
So Why LISS over HIIT?
People often associate HIIT training with a way of achieving your fitness results in a shorter period by burning a significant number of calories in a shorter amount of time. But too much HIIT training without combining low intensity aspects into your fitness routines can lead to over-training, injury, and a stressful impact on your hormones. Here are some other benefits of LISS cardio:
It aids in fat burning and fat loss.
Low impact steady state workouts like swimming, yoga, biking, and walking have been shown to improve your body’s ability to use fat as fuel instead of glycogen that we store in our muscles. Continued aerobic exercise has been shown to be more effective than HIIT at improving fat distribution on the body.
It’s appropriate for all levels.
One of my favourite things about LISS is that it’s gentle on the body and appropriate for all fitness levels. So whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just dipping your toe into your new fitness journey, there are many options for getting your body moving in a gentle and enjoyable way.
It improves mental health and recovery.
Movement is essential for not only keeping our bodies strong and healthy but also improving our mental state. Movement has been shown to improve our brain function, mood, and our hormone levels.
Adding something like a hike, a gentle morning swim, or a yoga flow into
our day is not only a great way to improve blood flow and recovery in our
bodies but also boost our moods and improve our energy levels.
Challenges of LISS Training
When it comes to LISS training, one of the challenges I see show up for clients or even my own workout schedule is the time commitment. One of the positive things and huge draws of HIIT training is that it’s short and powerful! HIIT workouts are typically under 45 minutes and can be done on a lunch break or injected into free time in our days in order to get our bodies moving. LISS workouts typically range from 60–90 minutes and require more time and planning in order to fit them into our schedules.
Because LISS workouts are longer, we also risk feeling bored with our workouts and can lose interest. Even when we know something is beneficial for our bodies, if we are not having fun or seeing a positive effect on our mood, we can quickly lose interest. I personally have seen huge benefits with LISS training on my stress levels by reminding myself to slow down, allowing my body to recover more efficiently from workouts, and also learning to fall in love with new aspects of movement. In the words of Albert Einstein: “Nothing happens until something moves.”
What would change, shift, strengthen, or soften if you chose to move in this season.
This article was published in The Good Life magazine