What is LISS?

What Is LISS

You’re definitely familiar with the term HIIT by now, aka High Intensity Interval Training. But not everyone knows about LISS, even though they might do it regularly. LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State–it is very much what it sounds like: the opposite of high intensity interval training.

LISS is a form of cardio exercise that is low impact and sustained for a longer period of time–longer than, say, a HIIT workout which alternates short periods of high intensity cardio with short periods of recovery for a total of 10-30 minutes (usually). LISS, in contrast, is something like 30-60 minutes long. Typical LISS exercises are: walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, and cycling.

HIIT is definitely a great form of exercise if you’re short on time. It packs the biggest “bang for your buck” if you’re looking to do a lot in a short amount of time. HIIT usually has your heart rate at 80-95% of your max heart rate during the high intensity intervals. LISS, on the other hand, has your heart rate at about 50-65% of your max heart rate for the duration of the exercise.

So why is LISS something worth adding to your routine?

  • It trains your endurance.
  • It’s low-intensity, so if you need to take it easy or you’re looking for something to do on your recovery days, this is a fun way to be active.
  • It’s very beginner-friendly, especially if you’re intimidated by HIIT, lifting, etc.
  • Still burns calories; in fact, it helps your body metabolize fat.
  • Most forms of LISS exercise are free–go for a long walk or jog–and it gets you outside.
  • Which means that it’s also really great for your mind and overall health.
  • Perfect for days that you’re just not feeling energetic enough to do something intense.

An ideal workout week would include a few LISS days. I’d aim for 2-3 times a week in addition to other workouts or for recovery days. The growing popularity of LISS workouts lately might be in part due to gyms being closed during COVID and people looking toward doing stuff outside for longer periods of time. Or people are just finding that they enjoy a gentler form of exercise sometimes and find some value in having a more balanced workout regimen.


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