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What is a LISS workout?

There are so many different types of workouts and it is definitely hard to understand each type. Today we'll talk about LISS. LISS stands for 'low intensity steady state' cardio workouts. It's basically something you've been doing already, but you might not have known about the acronym, LISS. LISS is being physically active at a low to moderate pace for a continuous period of time of 30-60 minutes. Since you're working out a lower intensity, you are also using fat as a fuel instead of using glycogen. This is why you'll read about LISS being a fat-burning workout.

The recommendation by health organizations is to get 150-300 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise per week. If you're doing LISS, you will be accomplishing what the recommendation is for long as you're putting in the time.

What should your heart rate be at for a LISS workout?

When researching LISS workouts, the recommended heart rate varies from 50-65%, 50-70% and 50-75% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). The goal is to keep your heart rate consistent and slightly elevated for a longer period of time. You should be able to hold a conversation while doing a LISS workout and if you can't, your heart rate is too high. If you have a watch with a heart rate monitor, you can simply look down at your watch and stay within the zone of roughly 50-70% of your MHR. MHR is determined by age. The younger you are, the higher your heart rate can go. We'll talk about MHR in a future post. Below is a chart of where your heart rate should be during a LISS workout, based on your age:

LISS workouts are great for all ages and abilities since your heart rate is lower and the workouts are less stress on your body. The workouts also feel more manageable in comparison to a high intensity interval workout (HIIT). Benefits include improved blood flow, improved brain function, reduced stress, lower risk of heart disease and all the other benefits that physical activity provides.

Who are LISS workouts for?

  • Great for beginners since the workouts feel more manageable due to a lower heart rate.

  • Ideal for a recovery workout after a HIIT or strength workout. You can workout for anywhere from 30-60 minutes to get in the length of workout that suits you while still improving your fitness and health.

  • Great for seniors who want to move at a slower pace and not risk having too high of a heart rate.

  • Ideal to use on days when you are tired and don't feel like working out.

There are so many different ways to get in exercise and since we're all different, we all enjoy different types and varieties of workouts. You really have to determine what exercise routine works best for you and your body. If you have past injuries or medical issues, your routine will need to be different from others. LISS training might be exactly what you need.

For healthy and active adults, a great schedule to follow would be the following:

  • 2 HIIT or Tabata workouts a week (as a senior, you should be monitoring your heart rate to ensure it is not too high).

  • 2-3 full body strength workouts a week.

  • 1-2 LISS workouts (ideally, at least 1 longer workout a week to work on endurance; this could be a long steady walk outside, swimming, biking, etc.)

Keep in mind, you can do the strength workouts and cardio workouts together in one day. If you're retired, breaking up workouts is a great way to get in more exercise. If you can, do a workout in the morning, and another one in the afternoon if you can. Or, do them both together. Either choice is great. It all comes down to what works best for you, your schedule, and what motivates you.

Which is better, HIIT or LISS?

The one bonus of HIIT workouts is that they don't take as much time. HIIT workouts are typically 10-30 minutes and you will burn more calories compared to LISS workouts. But, you shouldn't do HIIT workouts more than twice a week.

You might ask, where do the all-in-one workouts fit in? Depending on the all-in-ones, some might include intervals (HIIT), while others might be more steady state workouts (LISS). Since we only do 1 set of strength training in most of the all-in-one workouts, you can do the all-in-one workouts daily if you wish. They provide a well-rounded program which targets cardio, strength, balance and flexibility all together.

Whatever you do, find what exercise works best for you. Try the 2 minute movement challenge (in another post), set realistic goals, create a weekly workout schedule and stick with it. If you get off track, re-evaluate and start again. Being active every day plays a massive role in both your physical and mental health. The more you take care of body now, the more your body will take care of you as you age. Research shows that active people live longer and have better quality of life. If you're tired and don't feel like exercising, remind yourself that moving now will keep you moving more later.



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