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LISS is Bliss: How Low-Intensity Steady State Training is Next Level

A young woman and her grandfather enjoy a low intensity walk together

When it comes to exercising, you’ve heard the expression, “No pain, no gain,” right? We’ve been conditioned to believe that sweat, intensity, and constant movement are key to a rewarding workout. Today’s popular workouts — like boot camps, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), spin, and cardio kickboxing — follow that philosophy.

But what if another, less punishing way could improve your physical fitness and ability to exercise more consistently?

Enter LISS, or low-intensity steady state training. It’s the more chill, older cousin of HIIT. That’s right, LISS has been around the block — on a walk or a run, on a bike, and sometimes even a swim.

Types of LISS Workouts

LISS is a cardio-style, 30- to 60-minute workout designed to kickstart fat burning, increase blood flow, and boost oxygen delivery within cells. With constant, unchanging speed and intensity, your heart rate should never exceed 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Here are some exercises that qualify as low intensity:

  • Moderate walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling outdoors
  • Swimming
  • Elliptical training
  • Rowing at a steady pace
  • Hiking leisurely
  • Surfing
  • Skateboarding
  • Jumping rope

Benefits of LISS Training

It’s all about slow and steady with LISS. The goal is to build endurance and condition with longer periods of continuous movement, rather than bursts of vigorous power and speed. There are many reasons why LISS could be the right workout for you.

Just starting out?

LISS training is great for beginners or if you’re trying to restart a workout routine. That’s because you can move at your own pace.

Need a break?

Everyone needs rest days. But LISS can actually help your body recover more quickly in between HIIT sessions. Maybe your muscles are screaming from yesterday’s burpee-overhead press-squat circuit. Today, 45 minutes on the elliptical can help with blood flow and nutrient delivery to those sore muscles.

Are you trying to save money?

LISS training is free! Walking or running outside doesn’t cost you a cent. Dust off your old bike in your garage and take it for a ride. The fresh air certainly doesn’t hurt either. You can even stream low-impact classes like yoga and dance online.

Are you mentally and physically exhausted?

Some days are tougher than others, and you may not feel like working out. LISS training can help on those days you still want to move.

Stressed to the max?

Exercise, in general, can really help with relieving stress. But a slow, steady pace can help you clear your head and calm you down.

Want to work out with a friend?

LISS is a social butterfly! It’s much harder to talk to your workout buddy during spin class than during a walk. LISS allows you time to catch up and be more social while moving.

Bottom line, LISS training is just as important as those high-intensity workouts. Integrating low-intensity workouts into your fitness routine is just another tool in helping reach your health goals.*

*Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
Ashley Weyler

About Ashley Weyler

I’m a writer and a film, music, and TV buff who loves Philadelphia sports. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, which means I’m always on-the-go. I try to make healthy decisions that fit with my lifestyle; whether it’s choosing healthy food while eating at a restaurant, finding exercises I enjoy doing so I stay motivated, or achieving a good work-life balance.