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“LIIT is the new HIIT.” So say endless articles and blog posts on the merits of Low-Intensity Interval Training compared with its highly exerting sibling. But what exactly is LIIT, and what are its benefits?

In a nutshell, LIIT does away with high-impact exercises, greatly reducing your risk of injury. There’s no jumping, bouncing, or limb-thumping. The idea, instead, is to engage in slow, controlled movements, which many people believe to be just as effective as those offered by fast-paced workouts.

LIIT incorporates elements of bodyweight workouts, like Pilates, whilst also putting weights and resistance bands to use. The overall aim being to bring your body to a satisfying burn without burning it out.

HIIT and LIIT: what’s the difference?

You may not have come across LIIT before, but chances are you’ll be fairly familiar with HIIT. And whilst there aren’t many differences between the two, the things that do separate them are quite significant.

Basically, HIIT sessions are shorter and more intense, and generally consist of more exerting exercises mixed in with shorter rest periods. LIIT, on the other hand, lasts a little longer, and incorporates more drawn-out rest periods and more sustainable exercises.

Though minute-for-minute HIIT sessions burn more calories, it’s believed that overall the average HIIT and LIIT workouts will burn around the same amount. So you don’t need to feel like your losing out by turning down the intensity level. 

Less intense = more mindful

One advantage of LIIT, at least according to its advocates, is that it offers a more mindful approach to fitness.

It’s hard to deny that these days many of us live incredibly fast-paced, high-stress lives. And though exercise in general can provide a fantastic antidote to this, many fitness regimes still contain stress-inducing elements, whether physical or mental. 

It seems almost as if the increasing pace of the modern world has gradually seeped into our gyms and parks. And our high-intensity workouts can sometimes fail to provide us with the psychological and emotional disconnect we really need.

LIIT, however, could be the perfect middle-ground. With Low-Intensity Interval Training, we’re forced to slow down and move at a physical pace that’s completely at odds with our daily habits.

Not only that, but going at a slower physical pace could have a positive effect on our state of mind. If we lift a weight in slow-motion, for example, we’re much more likely to focus on the actual movement of our arms. With this focus comes concentration, and concentration is, essentially, the foundation of mindfulness.

So by creating space, and allowing ourselves the time to move in a more considered and careful manner, we may pave the way to slow down our thoughts and create greater peace of mind.

Who’s it good for and what are the benefits?

As you might imagine, LIIT is suited to pretty much anyone. You certainly don’t need to be in peak physical shape to have a go. In fact, it may be even more beneficial for those who rarely exercise due to its gentler nature.

Much like HIIT, LIIT is believed to be great for burning fat and calories, boosting mental wellbeing, and reducing stress. It’s also seen as a way to improve mobility, flexibility, and cardio resistance. 

Get your LIIT on

If you think Low-Intensity Interval Training might be up your street, here’s a workout you can try at home

That’s it for LIIT, now on to HIIT

Though we’ve compared the two, neither LIIT or HIIT are, in the end, superior forms of exercise in comparison to the other. Which one is best for you will all depend on your goals and current level of fitness.

To see the other side of the coin, why not take a look at the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training.