The Benefits of Both
Now we know what high- and low-intensity cardio are, it’s time to unravel the advantages of each and decide which is better for you.
With such intensity, HIIT is a huge calorie burner. Performed correctly, you will burn more calories with HIIT in a shorter space of time when compared to a lower-intensity cardio. Although, interestingly, the calories you burn include those you burn after the activity is over – the so-called ‘afterburn’, where your metabolic rate remains high.
For example, you may only burn 200 calories while performing 30 minutes of HIIT. But while you eat, shower and sleep afterwards, you end up burning more calories as your body attempts to restore itself to its resting state – so your overall calorie expenditure may end up being 700 to 800 in total.
High-intensity cardio is also seen as more effective for maintaining muscle mass while you lose fat, while it can also support and strengthen your cardiovascular system. The fact that all these benefits can be obtained within around 20 minutes a few times a week makes HIIT very appealing indeed.
But don’t brush aside low-intensity cardio, as it still has its benefits. For example, low-intensity cardio can offer a great exercise outlet for people of any ability. You could be a complete beginner starting out on a short jog every day, or a professional ultramarathon runner, running hundreds of miles a day. Both are forms of LISS.
This style of cardio can burn significant calories, although you have to do it for longer. In other words, at least 30 minutes multiple times a week to really see the benefits.
Perhaps most appealing, LISS can improve your body’s ability to use fat as fuel, which is a big plus for people wanting to lose weight, while maintaining muscle. Low-intensity cardio can also boost your heart health and endurance.
Finally, low-intensity cardio is easier to recover from. In fact, most people can work out in this way every day of the year, while HIIT requires more recovery time between sessions.