LISS – Just What Is Low Intensity Steady State?

LISS? Have you heard of it? We’re betting the majority of you haven’t – essentially LISS stands for “low intensity steady state”. We took some time out with Accredited Exercise Physiologist Beth Sheehan to get the low down on LISS.

If you were to explain low intensity steady state or LISS to a beginner what would you say?

Low intensity steady state is any form of activity or movement that requires about 50% of your maximum heart rate.  It’s generally a low impact form of activity or exercise and many people use it as a daily activity e.g. walking, swimming, bike riding, some forms of yoga or to assist with active recovery and relieving stress.

How does it differ to regular exercise?

What is regular exercise?  Exercise needs to suit the individual.  The buzz forms of exercise at the moment are often HIIT programs or F45 programs.  These forms of exercise are high in intensity and load the body in short sharp bursts.

LISS when compared with higher intensity exercises such as sprinting or team sports doesn’t place as much load on the body and allows the individual to work at a more steady pace. For most people exercising or moving at 50% of your heart rate allows you to maintain a conversation whilst moving.

When looking at exercise, finding what works for you and your goals is important.

Does it have any added benefits to our health?

For individuals who don’t exercise regularly or who are recovering from an injury, LISS can have a multitude of health benefits.

LISS can assist those previous sedentary to achieve the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults (i.e. 30 minutes of exercise per day, 150 minutes of moderate activity per week).

LISS can be used as a maintenance type of program to assist with preventing risk factors for chronic diseases, recovery program for people with DOMS or joint stiffness or assisting in management of mental health conditions.

When working out what program is best for you it is best to work with an accredited exercise professional that takes into account your history of exercise (or no exercise), health conditions and psychosocial factors.

Who would LISS suit the most?

LISS can be beneficial for all if prescribed appropriately.

LISS is often used for athletes for recovery sessions, adults who live with bone or joint conditions such as arthritis or for individuals wanting to start an exercise program for the first time.

Should I combine LISS and HITT to get the most health effects?

Again looking at the person in front of you is important.  The physical activity guidelines for Australians states that 150 minutes of moderate (low intensity) activity or 75 minutes of vigorous (high intensity) which includes two sessions of strength training per week.

A combination of LISS and HIIT may be suitable for some!