What Is Low-Intensity Steady State(LISS)?

4 mins read

Circuit Breaker brought out the athlete in everyone and HIIT(High-Intensity Interval Training) became such a hit (pun intended). But HIIT as advantageous as HIIT maybe, it’s not for everyone. For example, your 70-year-old Grandmother would not be able to engage in a 40 minute HIIT session on a stationary bike therefore LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) exercises would be the better option.

So What is LISS?

Well LISS is the opposite of HIIT. During HIIT you are pushing your body for shorter intervals at an intensity of 80% to 90% of your max heart rate.

However, for LISS you maintain your heart rate at about 40% to 60% of your max heart rate and you exercise for a prolonged period of time of around 40 to 60 minutes.During LISS, the intensity of the exercise should remain the same throughout, that is what the “steady-state in its name stands for.

What makes LISS good?

Just like certain HIITs, LISS requires no form of equipment, you could do LISS at the gym or outside. The types of LISS activities you could do are:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Stair Climbing

A good gauge of whether you are performing LISS at the required intensity is whether or not you can have a conversation with someone else while performing LISS. If you are trying to catch your breath while you are talking means you could be exercising at a higher intensity than LISS requires thus if you are walking you should slightly reduce your speed.

When you are performing at a lower intensity your body is more effective in taking in oxygen compared to when you are running. With this influx of oxygen your body would metabolise the fat, in other words, more oxygen=more fat burned. Then it brings up the question of why not just do LISS?

Well LISS usually requires long periods to be effective, unlike HIIT which can be done in 20 minutes. HIIT also has the afterburning effect where you are still burning fat for a period of time after finishing the workout. So unless you have time to spare, LISS may not be the choice for everyone.

Why choose LISS?

LISS being at a lower intensity is something that would appeal to many beginners who are afraid of how much they can actually push their bodies. People that are heavier and are trying to lose weight may find it harder to run and maintain a certain pace throughout thus eventually being demoralized. So starting slow by brisk walking and eventually jogging is a good way to start and progress.

If you are an avid runner recovering from an injury and still want some action, LISS would be a great way to get back in the game because of its lower intensity. Another scenario could be, the day after a workout at the gym and you want to perform some cardio, then LISS is the way to go.


A tip to take away from this article is to be confident in your training abilities and methods. LISS is easier than a lot of other forms of exercise but it is still an effective way of keeping fit. If you find that LISS workouts are effective and comfortable for you, do not be intimidated by other fitness junkies who have nothing positive to say.

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