Benefits of Low-Intensity Workouts
Newsflash: you don’t need to be breaking records to reap the benefits of working out.
Science Daily reports a study showing that sedentary adults who engaged in 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise every day had reduced levels of fatigue in comparison to non-exercisers and those who engaged in moderate-intensity exercise.
Low-intensity workouts allow for just about anyone to reap the benefits of exercise no matter the fitness level.
The benefits of low-intensity exercise include:
- Burn fat and calories
- Improve cardiovascular function
- Build muscular endurance (this is done by performing a high number of reps with low resistance)
- Boost circulation
- Improve mood
I can’t stress enough that low-intensity workouts can be great for all different kinds of people!
This type of workout can be a great option for those with unique situations such as chronic pain or illness, those struggling with severe asthma or heart conditions, or during pregnancy.
Low-intensity workouts also allow for experienced athletes to have active recovery days.
Fitness does not have to be an all or nothing pursuit!
Types of Low-Intensity Exercise
Three of the most common types of low-intensity exercise include:
1. Low-Intensity Interval training (LIIT)
Instead of requiring quick and intense intervals like those you would find in a HIIT workout, LIIT workouts intersperse strength-training intervals with longer rest breaks but require you to do each rep with as perfect form as you possibly can.
You’ll still feel your muscles burning, but you won’t be panting or fighting the urge to vomit.
2. Walking for Weight Loss
The human body requires calories to convert into energy to do every single basic function that we perform.
While attaining a sufficient number of calories is important for everyday life, a surplus can generally lead to weight gain.
On the other hand, a deficit of calories can lead to weight loss.
So, to be losing weight, we must be burning more calories than we are taking in. Walking can be an efficient, low-stress way to burn those calories.
Walking at a brisk pace for just one mile generally can burn around 90 calories, and this can be intensified by walking on steeper terrain.
Incorporating more physical activity into your day-to-day life can allow you to reap the benefits of exercise without overexerting yourself!
(Walking for weight loss is awesome, but there may be a better way!)
3. Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS)
LISS is considered doing consistent light cardio at about 50% of your max heart rate for an extended period.
Over time, LISS cardio can help train your body to better use fat as a fuel source.
This is a low impact way to strengthen the tendons and ligaments that provide daily function, preparing your body for more intense workouts.
Because of the low impact nature of LISS cardio, it can be done multiple days in a row as well.
With this kind of cardio, it is important that you do not solely rely on it as your only source of exercise.
Our bodies adapt quickly, so this is a good way to switch things up, but you shouldn’t just rely on 45 minutes on the elliptical for all your workouts.
Working Out Without Burning Out
We as human beings require variation. It wouldn’t be good for your body to be squatting heavy weights every day, and the same is true for every type of difficult exercise.
It’s important to give your body a break.
Low-intensity workouts not only let you burn calories in a low-stress way, but they allow your body a chance to actively rest and recover from more intense workouts.
So, whether you are just taking the first few steps on your fitness journey, or you’re an experienced athlete who needs a little rest, low-intensity training provides an incredible opportunity for you to better yourself!