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What is LISS Cardio?

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

LISS cardio, or low-intensity steady-state cardio, is a type of aerobic exercise that involves performing a low-intensity activity, such as walking or cycling, for an extended period of time. Unlike high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest periods, LISS cardio is characterized by a steady pace and lower intensity, making it a popular choice for people of all fitness levels.

One of the primary benefits of LISS cardio is that it can be done for longer periods of time without causing excessive fatigue or strain on the body. This makes it a great option for those who are looking to increase their cardiovascular endurance or burn calories without putting too much stress on themselves.

LISS cardio can also help to improve overall fitness and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases by increasing the body's ability to use oxygen, which helps to improve heart and lung function, lower blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity.

The target heart rate for LISS cardio, or low-intensity steady-state cardio, typically falls within the range of 50-70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).

You can determine your target heart rate range for LISS cardio using the Karvonen formula, which you can do in the following steps:

1. Determine your resting heart rate (RHR) by taking your pulse first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed, or after sitting quietly for 5-10 minutes.

2. Calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR) using the formula: MHR = 220 - your age.

3. Subtract your RHR from your MHR to determine your heart rate reserve (HRR).


4. Multiply your HRR by the percentage you want to reach (usually 50-70% for LISS cardio) and add your RHR back in.

Target heart rate = (HRR x percentage) + RHR

For example, if you're a 30-year-old with a resting heart rate of 60 BPM, your MHR would be 190 BPM (220 - 30), and your HRR would be 130 BPM (190 - 60). If you wanted to achieve a target heart rate of 60% during LISS cardio, your calculations would look like this:

Target heart rate = (130 x 0.6) + 60 = 138 BPM

Your target heart rate range for LISS cardio would therefore be around 128-138 BPM. However, it's important to note that these calculations are just estimates, and your actual target heart rate may vary depending on your individual fitness level and health status. It's always a good idea to consult with a doctor or certified fitness professional to determine the appropriate target heart rate range for your specific needs and goals.

Activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming can be done at a low intensity for 30-60 minutes at a time, making it easy to fit into your schedule. . This can be particularly beneficial for those who may struggle to find time for more intense workouts or who are just starting out on their fitness journey.

While LISS cardio is generally considered safe for most people, it's important to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns. It's also important to listen to your body and adjust your intensity and duration accordingly, especially if you're new to exercise or have any injuries or limitations.

In conclusion, LISS cardio can be a great way to improve cardiovascular endurance and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Incorporating a low-intensity aerobic activity into your daily routine can help to improve your overall health and fitness, and may even help you to live a longer, healthier life.

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