Low Intensity Steady State Cardio is the practice of doing cardiovascular activity at a low intensity for a prolonged period of time, anywhere between 25-60 mins! For the longest time LISS Cardio has been the go to (or the only known form) of cardio for most people involved in fitness. However, it has begun to take a back seat to, the increasingly popular, HIIT cardio in these recent years. (see our last blog post for more info on HIIT Cardio) Although HIIT Cardio does have its benefits: increases testosterone, burns more fat, is more time efficient, it is NOT the be all, end all. You SHOULD be doing HIIT 1-3 times a week, but you should ALSO still continue to do Steady State Cardio.
Here are the top 4 reasons why you SHOULD still be doing Lower Intensity Steady State Cardio
Good For Recovery
If your main goal is to build more muscle, or even just to stay healthy, then Steady State Cardio is a must. Recovery is often overlooked by many of us who are too focused on the end result, this is a critical mistake. By continually doing HIIT and working out, you are putting an enormous amount of stress on your body; your muscles, your heart, and your central nervous system, need time to recover. LISS Cardio increases blood flow, helping repair torn/damaged muscle fibers; LISS Cardio puts very little to no stress at all on your joints; LISS Cardio gives your heart a workout without pushing it to the limits therefore, you are still working on your cardiovascular endurance without taxing your central nervous system (CNS). Recovery is THE NUMBER ONE reason why you should continue to be doing Low Intensity Steady State Cardio … because when you don’t give your body the recovery it needs that’s when you get injured and that’s when the most setbacks happen!
Helps With Retaining Muscle Mass
The harder your workout the more glycogen you burn which leaves you extremely hungry. (Why a lot of people break and have a massive cheat meal after workouts) And going back to the number 1 point, without giving your muscles enough time to recover you will be actually losing gains!
LISS Cardio burns calories! (Duh, I know) But the point here is, at times when you may not be doing any activity at all, because you are too tired to go intense or can’t seem to find the motivation, you will be better off by doing some form of LISS Cardio. (Doesn’t take much energy to do) LISS Cardio also helps you avoid the “burned out” feeling you get when training too many days in a row. Compared to sitting on the couch you are much better off doing Steady State Cardio!
Practical Cardiovascular Endurance
LISS Cardio trains your body in a different way than HIIT does. LISS Cardio is more practical in the sense that it trains you to handle more day to day normal physical activities. If you are someone who does or would love to go for: hikes, bike riding, swimming, rowing, etc then you will notice much better transfer of cardio endurance benefits from LISS Cardio!
So, is one form of cardio better than the other?
What cardio should YOU do to optimize maximum results?
Combination of both!
HIIT Cardio recommended 1-3 times a week. Every other day that you can do cardio make sure to do LISS Cardio!
Just remember, whatever cardio you decide to do, you are much better off doing it after your workout! (or if you need to do it before your workouts, try doing it a few hours before training, ie. cardio in the morning, weight training at night!)
Hope This Helps You On Your Fitness Journey.