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BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity - Steady State

BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity – Steady State

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BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity – Steady State

by Agnes Ramsay

Low intensity steady state (LISS) exercises are very effective for those who can’t do high intensity bouts of exercise. It’s low impact, so it’s easy on your joints and it can be done anywhere, at any time. In a previous article, I talked about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which has been trending the last few years. With this form of exercise, you combine periods of high intensity exercises, interspersed with low intensity breaks. While HIIT is extremely effective, it’s not for everyone.

You’re probably quite familiar with the LISS type of work out – walking at a steady cadence, light jogging or swimming. Basically, you can do any type of activity that increases your heart rate by approximately 60 to 80 per cent, for a maximum of 35 to 45 minutes.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com


Everyone can use LISS training. For those who are new to fitness, LISS can provide a gateway to getting stronger, and is less intimidating. Someone with no restrictions can do a HIIT training one day, then three days of LISS, and then back to HIIT.

However, if you have restrictions, such as back problems, arthritis, and/ or joint issues, stick to LISS. Your body will eventually adapt, and you won’t reap the benefits, if you do the same exercises over and over. Therefore, ensure that you vary your LISS training with different workouts.

Before you head out, do some dynamic stretching and finish off with some static stretching. For the most effective caloric burn, do it first thing in the morning before you eat. To ensure that you stay on track, schedule it into your day, ask a friend to join you, and switch up your exercises to keep it fun. If timing is an issue, break it up into 15 minute increments – two or three times per day.


  • Fast walk
  • Slow jog
  • Moderate swim
  • Bicycle riding on a flat surface
  • Elliptical/rower at a steady state


  • LISS can be done on a daily basis, as opposed to HIIT, which requires three to four days of recovery.
  • LISS takes less energy, therefore if you’re on a calorie reduced diet you won’t be starving after a workout.
  • It helps to increase your aerobic health.
  • It’s easier on the joints, which equals fewer injuries.
  • For some, LISS is more agreeable than HIIT, which helps with compliance.


With LISS, the pace is steady, but constant. You can use a heart-rate monitor to stay in the moderate range or use the talk test. If you can carry on a conversation at the pace you are exercising, then you are in the moderate range.


For example; if you are 60 years of age, your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age (60), which equals 180.

Therefore, your LISS heart rate should be 60 to 80 per cent of that – around 108 to 144.

Don’t underestimate the power of getting outside. With LISS, you can do it anywhere, so take the time to smell the roses.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.



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