Here’s a jolt. You don’t have to run a marathon in order for your body to get exercise benefits. LISS or “low intensity sustained state” training is low intensity cardio exercising performed for a pro-longed period of time, usually anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. It’s about maintaining your heart rate to about 50% of max heart rate during the exercise period. Consider it the antithesis of HIIT or “high intensity interval training” which focuses on quick bursts of cardio followed by a rest period. This type of cardio raises your heart rate fast from 75 to 90% of max heart rate and can cause an “after-burn effect”, where your body continues to burn fat even after you have stopped exercising. The problem with high intensity workouts is that they cannot be maintained for long periods of time. LISS provides the opportunity to exercise at lower intensity as an offset. LISS exercises include walking, bicycling and basically almost every activity that you can sustain for 30 to 60 minutes. Consider walking your dog for 30 minutes a LISS exercise.
Although the extra time spent in a LISS workout does burn calories, experts agree that it is not the best way to burn fat and lose weight. However, LISS does have valid benefits that should make it a part of any workout regimen.
For those with high intensity exercise schedules, LISS provides for an active rest or recovery day that keeps the heart and limbs working to assist in maintaining heart rate and regenerating and conditioning damaged muscles. As in a cool down, these activities reduce post workout stiffness. LISS can also be performed after a workout, as a long, pleasant cool down.
For non-conditioned newcomers to exercise LISS is a great way to step into an exercise regime without being intimidated. Waking on the treadmill or swimming is much easier to engage in compared with the idea of a tough TRX class, and over time will build up muscle and stamina for more intense workouts with minimal injury risk. Consequently, promoting the format should result in more people getting into an exercise regime. Something is better than nothing and going hard in a psycho spin class is not for everyone. Also, the simplicity of engaging in these types of exercises makes it easier to maintain over time. Per a 2015 study in published in Sports Medicine – Open, low-intensity exercise led to better exercise adherence.
LISS workouts can provide a relaxing alternative and distraction to stressful situations.
So here is the upshot of all this, you don’t have to go hard and you don’t have to go home when it comes to exercising. LISS provides an opportunity for everyone to get into the exercise game and reap the benefits.