What Is LISS?
If you’ve been following the TwitterGetsFitter 2.0 program, you’d know that I have now incorporated LISS into the routine once a week. This form of exercise is a great addition to your fitness regime, and an increasing number of fitness experts and coaches now recommend including it to intense routines. But the million-dollar question a lot of people are asking is — what is LISS?
LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State. Essentially, that translates to any sort of cardio or aerobic activity that you perform at a low but consistent intensity, for a prolonged period of time. LISS is usually recommended for between 30 and 60 minute sessions.
Some examples of LISS are brisk walks, jogs, cycling, and swimming. In case you don’t have the luxury of parks or spaces to do all that (ew of us do anymore), there are even LISS exercises you can do at the gym. The treadmill, the elliptical, the rowing machine, stationary bikes, or even a Zumba class, are all good ways to add some LISS to your gym routine.
So what are the benefits of LISS?
Well for starters, it isn’t scary. Going for a walk or a swim is infinitely less daunting than trying CrossFit, for example. It’s also a good way to introduce your body to regular exercise, and build your endurance before you graduate to more intense workouts.
And for those of you who are already working on more intense exercise routines, LISS is great for active rest and recovery days. Your body is kept moving, while still being given a bit of a break. This allows recovery from hardcore exercises, and since it has a considerably lower risk of injury, it’s also great to do when you’re nursing muscle strains or soreness.
It’s also a good option for the “lazier” among us — that is, those of us who would love to get results with minimal effort and intensity (FYI, there’s nothing wrong with that!). If you’re someone who would rather walk for an hour every day than do 30 minutes of HIIT 3 times a week, then LISS is for you.
In that case, is LISS a better fitness option than HIIT? Well, as with most such debates, there’s really no right or wrong. When it comes to fitness, a big part of what’s “right” is what’s right for you. That said, the kind of results do vary between workouts. If you choose to do only LISS, you’re likely to metabolise a lot of fat, but you may also lose lean muscle mass. This could affect your strength, if not supplemented correctly.
Most experts recommend combining more intense workouts with LISS a couple of times a week. Personally, that’s what I do as well. But allow me to reiterate, it’s about what suits your body, your schedule, and your interests. Remember, it’s always easier to stick to your workouts when you enjoy them. So if HIIT is what drives you, do it. If you prefer martial arts or kickboxing, do it. If you’re more a yoga person, do it. Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s good to stay informed, and read up about the potential benefits of different workouts, nutrition plans, and activities.
So what kind of workout do you prefer? Leave me a comment, and let’s see which way the scales tip! 😀