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Low intensity exercise vs high intensity exercise

May 10, 2021 | Blog

What is low intensity cardio exercise?  

Low Intensity Steady State Cardio or LISS for short, is basically any kind of cardio exercise where you’re sticking to the same steady pace for a set amount of time. If you are new to exercise, LISS is the best place to start and is often underrated when it comes to fat loss. 

How is LISS different from high intensity exercise? 

I’m sure you’ve heard the term HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT focuses on quick bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by rest periods. You work flat out, for anywhere between 5 seconds to 8 minutes, then rest and recover for a period that is the same as or more than the time you worked for. 

What are the benefits of HIIT?  

  • Time-efficient! Work hard and it’s done super-fast! 
  • Some find it more fun as it is varied and can be more motivational. 
  • During HIIT workouts your calorie burn is lower because you’re not working out for long. But, here’s the exciting part, you keep burning calories afterwards! You can burn a further 100 kcals within 24 hours. 
  • HIIT can help to improve performance in anaerobic exercises such as weightlifting and sprinting. 

If HIIT is so good, why should we keep doing low intensity exercise? 

Many trainers like to include LISS exercises alongside high intensity exercises, and here’s why: 

  • LISS is a great way to easily burn calories. 
  • LISS is very sociable and can be done with multiple people. 
  • Low intensity exercise causes minimal stress on your body. It’s perfect if you’re new to exercise or if you are unable to complete high intensity exercises. 
  • It’s easy to stay consistent and is easy to stick to. 
  • The risk of injury is very low with low intensity exercises. 
  • LISS can boost your endurance, meaning you can keep going for longer. 
  • It is a great way to burn fat and help you to retain muscle. 
  • A great way to get outdoors and into the fresh air. 
  • It is great for your body but also your mind too. 
  • Daily step targets are a great idea and seem more manageable too!

What kind of exercises count as LISS? 

It’s official - your daily walk is great for you and counts as a LISS exercise. 

But if you’re looking for something different, why not try one of these? 

  • Hiking 
  • Cycling (including a spin bike)
  • Swimming
  • Rowing 
  • Gym cardio equipment, such as the cross-trainer 


In fact, any kind of outdoor activity can count, including winter sports, water sports and more, as long as you’re able to maintain that steady pace for around 30-60 minutes. 

What’s more, it really is for everyone  

If you’re new to exercise, LISS exercises are a great place to start, and if you’re a fitness fan, it is fantastic to integrate into your training plan. So get started on some LISS exercises today and why not encourage your friends or family to come along too? 

If you’re looking for more inspiration, don’t forget to check out our blog about our Returning To Fitness After Lockdown and our Training Tips.