A Tale of Two Cardios – Which One Is Right For You?

Cardio is cardio, right? Well, yes and no. As we all know, cardiovascular exercise has many health benefits: heart health, increased metabolism, management or elimination of diseases, and improved recovery time from intense sessions. But did you know there is more than one type of cardio? Do you know which one is the best for you? Let’s go over the two main types, their benefits, and which one may for you and your fitness lifestyle.

LISS Cardio

LISS (Low Intensity Steady-Slate) cardio is exactly what it sounds like: lower intense, basic cardio movement. Examples would be: walking, low intense aerobics, elliptical machine, and moderate swimming. If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, or need something in between your strength training, this is the kind for you. It’s a fit for anyone: any age, any fitness level, this type of workout is attainable. You may not burn the same amount of calories or build the same amount of muscle from LISS cardio, but there is much to gain. With less strain on your joints, nerves, and muscles, chance of injury is extremely low. With less intensity, these workouts give our hearts a chance, and more time, to contract and release; relieving tension and stress from our bodies and lowers blood pressure. LISS cardio is less intense, but will still beneficial to your mind, body, and soul.

HIIT Cardio

HIIT (High -Intensity Interval Training) is also exactly what it sounds like: “hitting” the ground harder in your workouts! Smaller time intervals with bigger intensity in the exercise. Tabatas are a great example of this type of cardio. Tabata is an interval exercise named by Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata. He found that exercises done for about 25 min, in high intensity intervals of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, improved endurance compared to an hour of regular cardio. Sprinting planks, squats, push-ups, jacks: all body weight workouts that can be done in high intense intervals that some studies proved to be more beneficial than a longer less intense workout. Some disadvantages to HIIT: Burnout, injury, and working your way up. HIIT is something to start slowly with beginner exercises. Starting out too intense and with an exercise that may be too advanced could cause injury. Doing too much HIIT cardio can lead even those who are advanced in fitness to burn out. With HIIT cardio, sometimes less is more. Pay attention to your body and when you need to switch to LISS or take a rest day.

So which cardio is best for you? Both is may seem! Beginning with LISS, working your way up to HITT, and adding strength training to the mix, will be the perfect recipe for a healthy body. Get Movin’!