Over recent years with the emergence in popularity of high intensity interval training (HIIT), good old fashioned steady state cardio exercise has got a bad name in some circles. In the old days when if you wanted to get fit and lose weight you started jogging round the block! This article hopes to show how a cross trainer benefits this type of exercise. And how it can complement more fashionable interval and weight training routines.
What is low intensity steady state (LISS) exercise?
As the name suggests this type of exercise involves a low level of exertion over a long continuous period.
Classic examples beside steady cross trainer exercise include activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling. But a slower more relaxed pace so you are not pushing your body too hard. It should be enough to raise your heart rate a little and maybe break a slight sweat!
What are the benefits of this type of cross trainer exercise?
Burns Calories so can assist weight loss
Lots has been written about how high intensity training. That it burns more calories in a set time period than steady state cardio. There is no doubt this is true. However, these more intense exercise routines can only be carried out for a short amount of time, typically 20 – 30 minutes. Lower intensity exercise can be carried out for longer. Meaning total number of calories burnt are higher.
For example, a vigorous exercise bike session that could be maintained for 20 mins would burn 493 calories for an average 155lb person. The same person would burn 275 calories at a moderate pace over the same time. However if the moderate pace was maintained for 60 mins they would burn 826 calories.
Builds Cardiovascular endurance
The heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle it gets stronger the more you use it. Regular steady state exercise will increase the strength of your heart. This means that it will become more efficient at pumping blood around your body. Over time your resting heart rate should come down. Also your heart will be more efficient when put under stress but more intensive exercise.
Muscles are fuelled over long time periods by burning the oxygen absorbed into blood in the lungs. Lungs become more efficient the more often they are required to work. This leads to the heart having to beat slower to deliver a set amount of oxygen to the muscles. Therefore energy production systems become more efficient.
Low impact on your body
We are thinking of two types of impact. The weight bearing impact on joints, ligaments and tendons. The impact on the bodies energy systems.
More often than not high intensity exercise involves rigorous movements and weight bearing impacts. These can cause cumulative stress on your body over time. It’s associated with muscle and joint soreness and injury. The risk of this is much lower with low intensity cross trainer exercise.
Lower intensity exercise also puts less strain on energy systems to replenish both oxygen and nutrients after a work out. It reduces the need to repair damaged muscle fibres. The stress on the body from higher intensity training results in the release of hormones such as cortisol. This leads to increases in fat storage and water retention, less of an issue with lower intensity.
Recovery is much quicker. The body needs to do less to replenish energy stores with low intensity exercise. Soreness in joints and muscles also becomes much lower.
Quicker recovery means being able to train again sooner. You may need to take a day or two rest between HIIT or weight training sessions. However you can train at low intensity again the next day (or even same day morning and evening). When you aim to burn calories training twice in two days rather than once (if rest is needed for HIIT) will mean you burn more calories over the course of a week.
Can do anywhere
Wherever you are you can find a way to build some steady state cardio into your day. You could go for a walk in your lunch hour at work. Hire a bicycle and explore a new city on holiday. Even power walk to the shops on a Saturday morning!
Steady state cardio easily relieves boredom associated with regular exercise. Go for a jog in different directions each time. Explore various cycle routes or hike through new parks each time you exercise.
This constant change of scene keeps you interested and motivated. Therefore your exercise routine does not fizzle out due to boredom.
Compliments other types of training
Low intensity training can help your recovery from more strenuous sessions. Increasing blood flow through your muscles it can deliver more nutrients and stretch out tightness. Meaning you get back to the demanding sessions more quickly.
It is a way to continue to exercise on days where you need to rest from more intensive forms. Burning more calories and building overall endurance.
The wrap up
So what is the take away message from this article?
Well, although it’s not as popular as it once was, low intensity steady state cardio exercise has a number of benefits. It will help you achieve health and fitness gains. Be they weight loss, building endurance or recovering from tougher work outs.
We suggest you find a way to build an element of this training into your regular cross trainer exercise routine.
You will feel the benefits!
For more info on low intensity steady state cardio check out this video