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Is Low-Intensity Cardio A Waste of Time? Listen To The Surprising Truth

Low-Intensity Cardio

Low-impact Cardio, AKA Low-intensity steady state (LISS) exercises, are all the rage right now. This is in contrast to the hardcore, intensive H.I.I.T. exercises. Low-intensity cardio training focuses on lengthy, steady workouts that build your stamina little by little.

In retrospect, hardcore exercises push you to the limit. So, all of it seems like a dream come true. Isn’t it? This article will dive deep into Low-Intensity cardio and its advantages and disadvantages, so you can determine if it’s good for you.

What is Low-Intensity Cardio?

Low-intensity steady-state, or LISS, is a form of cardio exercise in which you engage in aerobic workouts at a lower intensity for a continuous and frequent period. LISS is a relatively recent word for a low-intensity training approach, yet this exercise has existed for decades. It is also known as:

  • low-intensity exercise
  • steady-state training (S.S.T.)
  • Cardiovascular continuous exercise
  • long slow distance (L.S.D.) training

High-Intensity Vs. Low-Intensity Cardio

The reputation of High-intensity Cardio or H.I.I.T. cardio (“High-Intensity Interval Training”) has exploded over the past several years.

In a head-to-head analysis, the research has shown that H.I.I.T. cardio workouts burn more overall fat and retain more muscle weight. So, it contrasts greatly with its counterpart, with a lower intensity and longer duration.

This is because of a boost in Excess-Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (E.P.O.C.). Hence, the E.P.O.C process pushes the body to burn more energy for several hours after the session has ended. Why? Because of the oxygen deficit caused by a greater intensity level.

So, H.I.I.T. cardio will give your body a more powerful fat-burning stimulus than a slow-paced 45-minute exercise. But does this imply that low-intensity cardio is ineffective?

How Does Low-Impact Cardio work?

As Katie explains, “LISS is a marathon as opposed to a sprint and applies to any cardiac and aerobic-based activity conducted at a moderate level, but over an extended duration.” Therefore, you are not straining yourself to reduce weight.

“The body needs oxygen for successful fat burning,” she explains. “Training at a reduced intensity allows the body to utilize more oxygen to promote fat breakout and convert it into energy.”

So, how precisely can you determine if your workout is LISS?

“Low-Intensity exercise in the ideal heart rate zone (70-80 percent max heart rate) is effective if your objective is to burn fat. So, keep your heart rate in this range for most of your workout to maximize fat loss.

For instance, suppose you were in a reducing phase that consisted of four days of lifting weights and two H.I.I.T. cardio sessions. It would help if you didn’t reduce your caloric intake further than you already have. But you have to generate a more significant deficit to drive further fat loss. In this circumstance, weekly 1-2 low-intensity exercise workouts would be ideal.

Or, suppose you were exercising big deadlifts and squats a few times each week and noticed that your legs were exhausted. Hence, Low-intensity exercise might help you burn more calories without hindering your leg healing.

Low-intensity exercise may not burn as much energy as high-intensity cardio, but it is still helpful and offers specific benefits that LISS cardio lacks.

Low-Intensity Cardio

For most people in many situations, three to five days of weightlifting combined with one to two high-intensity cardio sessions is perfect. Also, combining it with a decent diet is a solid, well-rounded strategy for shedding fat while preserving muscle.

Why Not High-Intensity Cardio?

An amount of intensity is necessary for a session to qualify as a H.I.I.T. exercise fully. Putting your central nervous system under tremendous stress than a brisk 45-minute treadmill stroll is the one big negative of these workouts.

There is a limit to the amount of High-intensity cardio you may accomplish on top of a standard three to five-day-per-week weight training regimen. Hence, you may get highly weary and burned out. In addition, the total effect on your joints will likely be more significant.

On top of your regular weight training, any more than two or three H.I.I.T. sessions per week can probably be too much for you.

Advantages of Low-impact Cardio

LISS cardio provides many of the same health advantages as other types of exercise. These benefits include better blood flow, less stress, a reduced chance of cardiovascular disease, and enhanced brain function. Listed below are additional advantages of LISS cardio:

  • It promotes fat burning and weight reduction. Steady-state exercise enhances the body’s capacity to utilize fat as fuel rather than glycogen stored in the muscles. Moreover, according to research in 2014, sustained aerobic exercise is preferable to H.I.I.T. for improving fat distribution.
  • It is suitable for all levels. LISS is more straightforward and less stressful on the muscles, so it is ideal for beginners.
  • It is a significant element of endurance training programs.
  • It promotes a quicker recovery. Because your body is under less strain, you can recover from LISS more quickly and effortlessly.
  • It’s an efficient method of endurance training. Long-term exercise at a modest level places less stress on the heart compared to a vigorous workout.
  • It is also excellent for muscle recovery from post-workout. On the day following a high-Impact workout, you can use LISS as a recovery session.

Disadvantages of Low-Intensity Cardio

Like any other kind of exercise, Low-Intensity Cardio has disadvantages:

  • It involves extended workout sessions, usually lasting between 45 and 60 minutes.
  • Long-term repetition of the same activity with the same intensity can bore you. Hence, try working out while listening to your favorite podcast or music or with a friend.
  • Frequent repetition of the same sort of exercise may raise your risk of overdoing an exercise.

Is LISS Cardio the Perfect Choice for You?

Low-Intensity cardio is a fantastic addition to most fitness regimens since it is typically safe and suitable for all fitness levels. So, LISS may be the best option for those who can easily fit a 45–60-minute cardio activity into their schedule and prefer a constant pace over mixing up the intensity.


In conclusion, this article is a quick run out on what a low-intensity workout is, how it is better than a high-intensity workout, how it works, and what its benefits are. Hopefully, after reading this, you can decide whether to switch your workout regime from high to Low-Intensity cardio.

You may also like: The Science-Based Answer to The Age-Long Question “Should I Do Cardio Before or After Weights.”

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Hello, I am the founder of Health and Stamina and a full-time health and fitness blogger. Bringing you the most talked-about health and fitness issues from reliable sources. 

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