We’ve all heard of high-intensity interval training. It’s all the rage at the moment.
Overwhelmingly quick, brutal, punishing classes that have you working explosively and using every muscle group in your body.
While the benefits of HIIT are widely recorded, it’s also good to note that it doesn’t work for everyone. And too much high-intensity exercise can actually put pressure on your joints and leave you at risk of injury.
That’s why it’s a great idea to mix things up and try a low-intensity workout.
Low-intensity, or steady state workouts are perfect for people who are coming back from injury, older people or if you’re looking for an active way to recover on your day off.
Low-intensity workouts aren’t cheating – far from it, they actually have loads of beneficial effects of your fitness, strength and over health.
The benefits of low-intensity exercise
It can be more enjoyable
If the thought of punishing your body with endless burpies makes you feel queasy, low-intensity fitness could be the answer.
One of the biggest motivating factors to get you to exercise consistently is enjoyment – so if you don’t enjoy high intensity workouts, you’re less likely to go back, simple.
It is easier on your joints
Throwing yourself around the gym might be great for your heart, but it’s no so kind on your knees.
If you suffer with joint problems or recurring injuries, slower, controlled fitness might be the best way to protect yourself.
Improves balance and stability
Taking the speed down a notch means every move you complete needs to be controlled and steady. For that, you need great balance.
Regularly working on your core and slower movements with weights will help you build on your stability.
To prove that low-intensity workouts aren’t just a cop-out for people who don’t want to get sweaty, we asked Jason Bristow, group exercise manager at Virgin Active to tell us more about why it can be brilliant.
‘Low intensity workouts are exercises that are little to no impact but they still raise the heart rate,’ Jason tells Metro.co.uk.
‘They are great for people who are starting to get into exercise or are coming back from injury – and also for those who are keen for a rest day and want to complement their higher intensity workouts.
‘Low intensity workouts can be accessed anywhere and at any time with little need for equipment or a large amount of expense.
‘There are many benefits from doing low intensity workouts, but the most significant one is a gradual increase in strength and muscular endurance without putting stress on the joints. There has also been studies that prove that at a low intensity, you could burn up to 20% more when compared to HIIT training.
‘If you are a regular gym goer, it is sometimes a good idea to slow things down but still get a great sweat on – this will reduce your risk of injury while keeping your fitness up. It will also aid your muscles in recovery after a more intense session.
‘Great examples of low intensity workouts include walking, cycling and even swimming.
‘If you wanted a low intensity interval work out in a gym, a long walk on a treadmill at a steady pace followed by a low resistance cycle on a watt bike.
‘As long as your heart rate does not raise too high then this will count as LISS – this of course all depends on your fitness level and where you are in your fitness journey.’
Walking on the treadmill – we definitely like the sound of that.