Low Intensity Steady State Cardio – How does it work?

Aerobic activity jogging or runningMost of us have heard a lot about High Intensity Cardio and how it can be done in a short time to burn fat.

However there is much debate about which type of cardio is best to burn fat. The reason for this is that we can not apply a one size fits all method when it comes to cardiovascular training. Age, caloric intake and activity level all play a pivotal role when determining the best cardio approach.  Another approach to cardio is Low Intensity Steady State Cardio or LISS.

So what is LISS?

LISS is best described as cardio training that keeps your heart rate in the aerobic zone working around 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate.  To work out your maximum heart rate subtract your age from 220.  (As an example if you are aged 35, 220-35 = 185, so your maximum heart rate is 185.  Your aerobic zone is between 60% and 80% of this figure.  60% of 185 is 111 and 80% is 148). During LISS you keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone for the whole duration of your workout.

The theory behind LISS is that given your heat rate stays low for the duration of the workout you burn more body fat for fuel.

The main point to remember is that no matter what cardio activity you choose, you need to monitor your level of intensity to keep that heart rate in the aerobic zone. Yes it means this type of cardio activity takes more time compared to high intensity cardio. The lower intensity level also provides the endurance to train for longer.

How long should I engage in LISS ?

A good starting point is to do steady state 2-3 times per week for 30 – 45 minutes. Remember the idea is to do a sweat session without working at too high an intensity level. If you find yourself out of breath, then it is a good sign to slow things down. Slow and steady is the key.

What are the benefits of doing LISS?

  • Helps you ease into a new exercise program
  • Safe when you have joint pain and injuries
  • Ideal exercise to lose body fat
  • Helps maintain muscle mass
  • Assists those unable to perform high intensity as a result of poor cardio vascular endurance

If you have not tried LISS, lace up your runners and give it a go. It is great way to also give your body a break from the high intensity routines.

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