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Find Your Perfect Workout

By Christine Yu | November 25, 2020 | EatingWell

No other fitness trend has made the same bang as HIIT—high-intensity interval training. Classes like CrossFit and SoulCycle mix short bursts of all-out activity with a quick recovery breather. But this isn’t the only way to get moving. HIIT’s low-key cousin LISS, or low-intensity steady-state, is a more relaxed, single-pace workout session you do for longer, like a half-hour jog. “They each have their own benefits, so ideally, you’ll try a combo of both,” says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. “But ultimately it’s about which one you enjoy more and will do.” Here, some of the payoffs of each.

3 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

  • It’s efficient. Both workout styles can help reduce body fat, but you’ll see results in less time with high-intensity workouts. In about 10 weeks, HIITers burned as much fat through 90 minutes of total weekly exercise compared to those who did LISS and worked out for two and a half hours each week. 
  • It keeps blood sugar in check. Two weeks of HIIT can improve insulin function (the hormone that regulates blood sugar). LISS helps too, but it’ll take about twice as long before you see a benefit.
  • It improves heart health. Compared to continuous training, HIIT leads to a more resilient ticker that easily speeds up and winds down based on high or low stress (called heart rate variability), kind of like the automatic transmission in your car. Less variation in heartbeat speed means sticky gears that don’t shift well, which may lead to heart disease.

4 Benefits of Low-Intensity Steady-State Exercise

  • It’s a slow burn. LISS burns more calories during your workout. Plus, its comfortable pace may mean you can exercise longer.
  • It could help you live longer. There may be an upper limit to the perks of super-intense workouts. Joggers running about a 12-minute mile had a 78 percent lower risk of premature death, a benefit that sprinters didn’t see.
  • It’s less risky. Especially if you’re in less than tip-top shape. “If you work out too hard, too quickly, your body may not be ready to take on HIIT training,” says McCall. “Low-intensity exercise helps prepare your body.” (And, he notes, doing more than three HIIT workouts a week—even if your body is up for it—could lead to injury.) 
  • You might enjoy it more. Some have a need for speed, but researchers found that previously sedentary adults preferred LISS.

This article was written by Christine Yu from EatingWell and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Christine Yu

Articles on Rally Health’s website are provided for informational purposes only, as a free resource for the public. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Rally Health does not accept solicitations or compensation from any parties mentioned in the articles, and the articles are not an endorsement of any providers, experts, websites, tools, or financial consultants, services, and organizations.