Log onto your Instagram account, and you’ll see one #KillerWorkout after another. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), CrossFit, Survivor Spin Classes, boxing…these super sweaty, heart-pumping, make-my-legs-shake workouts are effective and addictive.
As much as I love those workouts, they’re not for everyone.
Going from, “I need to start moving my body” to “I just did a 90-minute spin class” can be daunting. And if, at first, you aren’t slaying that killer workout, it can be frustrating. Or maybe your workouts have been super intense for a long while, and you feel like you need a break but still want to move your body?
LISS cardio might be the answer for both the beginner and expert.
What Is LISS Cardio?
LISS cardio stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio. This means that you exercise at a low to moderate pace for a longer duration. A “low to moderate pace” means working out at about a 4–6 in intensity on a scale of 1–10. One being “I’m watching The Bachelor” and ten being “I’m chasing a runaway puppy down the street in heels.”
You want to be able to carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing, and you feel like you could just go forever. You’ll want to work out for 45-60 minutes at this pace without stopping.
What Are the Benefits of LISS Cardio?
LISS cardio is a great training option for a few reasons.
First, it’s easily accessible to people at every fitness level. Anyone can open up their front door and go for a long walk, and most people can handle a light jog. The intimidation factor is gone.
Second, it’s safe. It’s rare to see injuries in someone doing LISS cardio.
Finally, workouts are only useful if you actually do them, and some research has shown that people are more likely to stick to a LISS-based exercise routine, as opposed to one centered on high-intensity sessions.
How to Do LISS Cardio
The best ways to do LISS cardio include riding a bike, using the elliptical in the gym, or, my favorite, walking outdoors. (Bonus: Walking outside is a great way to build and maintain bone density!)
For the beginner, open up the door and go for a walk. LISS cardio is the best way to start building stamina and aerobic capacity, two things that you are going to need when you start moving into higher-intensity workouts. You are also going to get a big boost of endorphins, which will motivate you to make even more healthy choices during the day. Aim for three to four LISS cardio sessions per week.
For the expert, you can use LISS cardio as your “active rest day” exercise. Doing high-intensity workouts day after day without rest and recovery can lead to burnout and injury. LISS cardio allows your body to recover while still including movement into your day.
You’ll notice that your body will feel less sore, and you’ll probably sleep deeper on those days. To feel the benefits, trade out a high-intensity workout for a LISS cardio workout once a week.
It’s so easy to add LISS cardio into your exercise routine, and you are going to love the change of pace, the feeling, and the results.
Cassie Piasecki is a graduate of The Nutrition School and is a Pilates Method Alliance-certified Pilates teacher and personal trainer based in Newport Beach, California. With over 25 years of experience, Cassie has taught fitness to over 10,000 people! She now connects with clients both in the studio and online via her website, thewowlife.com. Her favorite quote comes from Joseph Pilates: “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” Follow her on Instagram at @SmartyCassie.