When it comes to beginner exercise programs, you’ll usually find people who associate cardio only with the most overused equipment that exists, yes, you are right, the mighty TREADMILL. Some people walk into the gym solely to walk on it and leave after spending a rather not-so-rigorous twenty minutes.

Not that it’s a bad thing, but going for a workout and coming back home after barely putting heart and soul, does not help anybody. This could also be due to the fact that the awareness surrounding cardio exercises is fairly low amongst the majority of the population who wishes to follow an active lifestyle.

Well, we are here to fix that. Cardio types can vary based on the intensity, effect, and amount. If you’re just as confused about what cardio to include into your workout routine, read ahead and find out what fits you best.

LISS or Low-Intensity Steady State

LISS is characterized by a heart rate between 100-130 BPM. Activities such as aerobics, walking, and cycling can be categorized as low-intensity steady-state cardio. This type of workout does not contribute to stress on the joints, muscle soreness or endurance adjustments. People with sedentary desk jobs, struggling with weight issues or ones looking to create calorie-deficit and even powerlifters, can benefit from LISS.

MISS or Moderate-Intensity Steady State 

As the name suggests, this cardio includes any physical activity that contributes to heart rates ranging from 140-160 BPM and this burns significantly higher calories than the previous cardio form. Jogging, stair master, rowing and elliptical are all examples of moderate-intensity steady-state cardio.  Along with competitive athletes, anyone looking to boost their endurance skills can choose MISS as their go-to workout. And since MISS is known to reduce stress, your endorphins are going to have a field day as well.

HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training

Remember the sight of those supremely tired faces unable to utter a word coming out of your gym with clothes dripping of sweat all in just a matter of few minutes? Well, chances are you have seen someone who just had their HIIT session. Don’t worry it is not as intimidating as it looks or sounds, but it is definitely the most intensive exercise out of the list. This is a combination exercise of both cardio and strength training activities.

Interval training includes performing short bouts of intense exercise for a minimum of 30 seconds followed by a rest period and then repeat, making sure your heart rate doesn’t exceed 90% of the maximum. Better muscle development, an increased metabolic rate for 24-48 hours, better strength and power are just a few of the many benefits that HIIT has to offer.

Examples include mountain climbers, burpees, butt kicks, plank jacks, and jumping lunges. However, if you’re a beginner, it is suggested that you first get ready and work up to this level rather than conquering it straight in the start. Also, make sure to give yourself proper rest between consecutive HIIT sessions so that your body has enough time to recover.

Hopefully, we’ve given you better clarity on the cardio front. And, hey, you don’t have to stick with a single type of cardio throughout, because you can alternate between the three as and when suitable to you. Sticking to routine has become old, better mix it up a bit and help your body achieve its goals while achieving mental peace too!

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Sakshi Bajpai

A major gym-junkie and foodie, Sakshi has juxtaposed life mantras. She loves to trek in the Himalayas, play badminton on the weekends and write about all things sports.

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