What is LISS Cardio?
The runner’s high from cardio can be an addictive and enjoyable feeling, but after falling into a habit of one type of cardio exercise, switching things up can feel so refreshing. That’s why it’s essential to have a strong foundation and understanding of cardio. Like all forms of exercise, there are so many fun niche formats and fitness methods to try out. So often, people assume cardio is only running or HIIT, and while those are classic and popular cardio exercises, there’s a lot more out there.
Today we’re going to talk about LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio, a cardio format that often is overlooked.
What is LISS?
LISS stands for low-intensity steady-state. Add cardio to the end of that, and you get cardio exercise that is lower-intensity and is done at one steady pace over a longer time. As a reminder, cardio is any aerobic exercise that increases the heart rate, strengthening your heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system. LISS training is a method that many different forms of exercise can adopt. LISS is any exercise that increases your heart rate to a low-moderate rate (about 50-65% of your maximum heart rate) for a steady, longer time. Because it is heart-rate based, LISS fitness is inherently a form of cardio exercise.
The Benefits of LISS Cardio
LISS cardio is an excellent form of cardio exercise if you’re looking for something a bit less harsh or intense on the body. Low-intensity steady-state means that while you aren’t pushing your 100% effort, the work you are putting in will reap benefits over a longer, steadier period, which is why LISS workouts are great for burning fat and calories and allowing your body to work at its own pace.
Did you know that lower-intensity cardio exercises target fat burning over carbohydrates? Well, to phrase things a bit more specifically, when your exertion level is nearing its max, and your heart rate levels are at their height, your body needs to burn through and break down energy fast. Comparatively, carbohydrates are not as dense as fat, so they’re easier and quicker to break down. As a result, the body burns through carbs at a much higher rate than it does fats when working at an intense level of exertion.
That’s why, when you’re doing LISS cardio, your body burns a higher percentage of fat than it does carbs if you were to compare it with higher intensity activities like HIIT. Some people call this the “fat burning heart rate zone.”
Supports Blood Circulation
Healthy blood circulation is essential for ensuring your body receives the nutrients it needs to function properly and maintain good health. Any cardio activity gets your heart rate pumping and your blood flowing throughout your body, but LISS cardio is especially great when it comes to supporting blood circulation. Since it is a bit more gentle on the body and since it’s done over a longer time than shorter interval workouts, LISS increases the heart rate to a moderate level and gives your body the time it needs to move things around and allow all parts of your body to refresh.
Allows Your Body to Recover
Suppose you’re training for something that requires a lot of endurance and intensity, like a marathon, for example. In that case, a LISS cardio workout is the perfect way to allow your body to recover while still training for endurance. Since LISS is low-intensity, it gives your body a break it needs between more challenging training days. And, since you’re still increasing your heart rate, LISS is great for practicing endurance and strengthening your heart and lungs.
The Drawbacks of LISS Cardio
It’s hard to find any drawbacks to LISS cardio. Since it is low-intensity cardio, it spares your body from harsh impact and doesn’t work your body into overdrive. However, since LISS cardio requires a bit more time to reap the benefits than shorter, more intense interval or circuit training, one drawback of LISS cardio is that you have to schedule more time to LISS than other fitness methods.
And, while you’re at a lower risk of injury, there still is the risk of injury. As with any exercise, you want to make sure that your body is physically prepared to challenge itself. Consult your doctor before doing anything you’re unsure about—this may include LISS cardio.
And when you’re feeling ready to take on LISS cardio physical activity, or any exercise, visit your local Chuze fitness center for access to state-of-the-art studios and machines to work out with. We’re here to support you and meet you where you’re at with your workout routine. See you soon.