Low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio exercise (sometimes also referred to as “steady-state training” or “SST”) has been getting some buzz lately, and for good reason. It’s good for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s an unintimidating type of exercise for those looking to get off the couch and get moving. And for exercise pros, it’s great for cross-training and endurance.
As the name implies, LISS involves slower aerobic activity done for an extended period of time, such as walking, jogging, or cycling at a comfortable pace.
Think of LISS workouts as the opposite of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that call for pushing as hard as you possibly can for brief bursts of time, explains Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD, an associate executive director for population and public health sciences at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who researches physical activity and obesity.
The term LISS is relatively new, but the type of movement is not. It’s at the core of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines, which urge people to get 150 to 300 minutes a week of low-to-moderate-intensity exercise, Dr. Katzmarzyk says.
(Katzmarzyk served on the HHS advisory committee that worked on the guidelines.)
“Simply put, you can think of LISS exercise as what public health professionals have been promoting for decades — exercise that is aerobic in nature — such as walking, cycling, and swimming,” he says. It’s synonymous with moderate-intensity aerobic activity, he says.