Low Intensity Steady State Cardio – or LISS as many refer to it – is performing cardiovascular exercise in a steady manner in which your heart rate doesn’t tend to fluctuate up and down. The heart rate is elevated but in a moderate manner as opposed to doing HIIT workouts like sprinting and other high-paced interval styled workouts.
The main reason or advantage of doing LISS instead of HIIT is the lack of central nervous system strain it places on your body. Steady state cardio is a lot less taxing on your body and ultimately can be used as a recovery tool when placed properly in your routine.
LISS cardio is also a lot less harmful on the rest of your body as well, such as muscles, joints and bones. Walking, for example, is a lot less taxing on your knees, shins and ankles than it is sprinting either on the concrete or on the track. Keeping LISS cardio in mind for varying your fitness and switching it up on your next gym outing, try these 4 forms of LISS cardio on for size and seek the fat loss and overall recovery that comes with steady forms of cardio.
#1: Walking for LISS
You’ve probably pretty familiar with this first one since you more than likely do it to some extent every single day. I know what you’re thinking: “Who in their right mind thinks that you can improve your fitness level with just walking?” Besides, this is what your grandma and her buddies do every day around 9 o’clock in the morning. But contrary to popular belief, walking is one of the best forms of steady state cardio because of its lack of wear and tear it places on your body.
Example Walking Workout: At a brisk pace, walk at a steady rate for 25-30 minutes to start with. After 2-3 weeks at the same pace add 3-5 minutes for 6-8 weeks then take a week off. Taking this week off will allow your body to reset.
#2: Rowing for LISS
One of the most popular cardio workouts for CrossFit is to row so many meters for time; what many people fail to realize is that rowing is also a great steady state cardio workout when done correctly. Utilize the heart rate monitor that is attached to the rower machine to ensure that you’re in the perfect zone depending on whether you’re wanting to burn fat or ensure you’re reaching the cardiovascular level.
Example Rowing Workout: Row 30 minutes at a brisk pace but keeping the rate as steady as possible. Bump up the intensity if you feel you can go harder but ensure that you’re not pushing yourself too much so you can make it the full 30 minutes.
#3: Elliptical for LISS
If you’re one that’s not keen on going to the gym all the time, especially just for cardio, then an elliptical is something to definitely invest in. Low impact and very non-age specific, the elliptical is great for anyone wanting to lose 5 pounds or lose 50. Not only can you get a great workout in at the gym but you can workout in the comfort of your own home and at a very casual pace.
Example Elliptical Workout: At a steady pace, go forward for 15 minutes and then pedal backwards for 15 minutes.
#4: Swimming for LISS
The ultimate full-body workout that is virtually pain- and resistance-free: swimming. Changing up the different types of strokes will enable you to work the different muscles on the anterior and posterior parts of your body. The natural kicking movement will emulate walking/jogging movements that will provide a great cardio workout that is pain-free on your joints. If you haven’t tried swimming as a form of your everyday cardio, get on it ASAP!
Example Swimming Workout: Find whatever stroke you are the best at and continuously swim up and down the length of the pool without letting your feet hit the bottom. Swim continuously for 20-25 minutes for the full workout.
Finding ways to incorporate LISS cardio is not only essential for relieving your central nervous system but it also aids in full recovery of your muscles from the beating they’ve taken all week in the gym. If your goal is more to just burn some excess fat, these types of workouts are great for beginners and will keep you motivated while on your fitness journey.