And the Benefits of LISS Exercise
Hope the first week of your summer’s been awesome. So far we’ve done our annual big camping trip with friends, been swimming at a friend’s pool A LOT, had a few BBQs and went to see some pretty spectacular fireworks, so I’d consider that a fine way to kick things off!
Staying in shape over the summer months can be a pretty big challenge with all the BBQs, drinks on the patio, trips to the local ice cream parlor, road trips and vacations. So with that in mind I wanted to put together an easy to follow challenge that won’t take up too much time that can easily be done first thing in the morning or before bed. And it’s what helped me stay in shape and actually lose weight on my month long vacation in Europe! It’s all based on LISS activities, or low intensity steady state exercise.
What are the Benefits of LISS?
1. LISS is Super-Safe
Unlike high intensity interval training (HIIT), which often relies on fast movements like sprinting and jumping, LISS cardio is slow and under control. That’s why walking is deemed one of the safest forms of exercise you can choose. Nothing stops progress like injury. What good is HIIT exercise if a pulled hamstring, bad knees, or a sore back forces you to take time off. All of that work you put in can quickly be undone by an injury or two. LISS is a much safer alternative.
2. LISS Requires No Recovery Time
As we looked at earlier, HIIT exercise can only be done in small doses, ideally for no more than 40 minutes per week. This might give you enough time for two workouts before your body can’t safely handle any more HIIT. LISS, on the other hand, is gentle enough that you can do it every single day. Because your muscles and joints aren’t taking a beating, and because your stress hormones aren’t being triggered, you can exercise daily without worrying about recovery time. This is very helpful for anyone who thrives on having distinct routines. You can build a habit of doing daily LISS at a time that works perfectly for you.
3. You Can Do LISS Anytime, Anywhere
LISS is the ultimate “convenience” exercise. You don’t need a gym. You don’t need any equipment. You don’t need an instructor. You can just get up and move whenever you have time. For example, if you have an hour for lunch break, it might be tough to schedule a run. You’d have to change your clothes, and you’d be all sweaty afterwards. You would need to shower before heading back to work. The process is just inconvenient enough that it could be easy to talk yourself out of running most days. LISS cardio removes those barriers. Slip on some good walking shoes and head out the door. Exercising at 50 to 60% of your max heart rate likely won’t have you sweating too much, so you can easily return to work without needing to shower. Any 30-minute – 60 min. window is a perfect time for LISS.
Because of these reasons LISS if PERFECT for this time of year! My favorite LISS activities are Pilates and Yoga, but in the summer I also walk, hike, bike, swim, canoe, kayak, just choose your favorite fun summer activity and get out there and do it!
Over the course of July and August I’ll be challenging you to do Pilates, Yoga and LISS cardio everyday! Pretty simple right? You can do this challenge all on it’s own to stay in shape over the summer or on top of your current workout routine to add a little extra stretching and core strengthening.
30 Day Yoga and Pilates July Challenge
Days 1, 3 and 5 – Pilates
Seated Spine Stretch Forward
Seated Leg Lifts
Side Lying Leg Lifts
Days 2, 4 and 6 – Yoga
Start in Child’s Pose, hold for a few breaths.
Make your way to Hands and Knees Table Top and go through 5 slow Cat/Cows.
From here go into Bird Dog (opposite arm/leg lifts) for 5 reps on each side. Circle through your hips and shoulder on all fours for a few breaths or go back into Child’s Pose.
Push up into Downward Facing Dog and hold for 5 breaths, walking out your heels if that feels good.
Walk your feet to your hands, bend your knees slightly and hang in a modified Forward Bend.
Roll Up to standing and come into Mountain Pose.
Sun Salutation C – go through this sequence 4 times, changing lead legs each time.
From Mountain Pose fold forward and hold forward bend for a breath, then place your hands on the mat and make your way back into Plank Pose. Hold a solid Plank for 5 breaths, drop to your knees or elbows if you need to. Then lie on your stomach and take a few breaths, head to the side. Push back into Child’s Pose.
Make your way onto your back and pull both knees into your chest.
Take one knee and hug it in tightly, extending the other leg on the mat. Then straightening your leg to the ceiling stretching out your hamstring and calf, holding for a few breaths.
Then bend the knee and place the ankle across the opposite knee and pulling it towards you for a pretzel stretch, stretching out the glutes and hip. Again hold for a few breaths.
With legs crossed, twist your knees towards the floor on one side while stretching your arms out to the sides. Hold and breathe, stretching out your waist and low back. Roll onto your back and pull your knees back into your chest. Do all these to the other side.
Finish with a Happy Baby Pose or Knees to Chest then stretch arms and legs out for Relaxation Pose. Lie and breath for at least 2 min. (set a timer if you have to)
Weeks 1 and 2 you’ll do about 10 min. a day of Yoga or Pilates, for the Pilates exercises I recommend using a Tabata or other timer. After week one you’ll add at least 10 min. of the LISS cardio activity of your choice. If you do more that’s great, but even a 10 min. walk around the block after dinner is a great start.
Weeks 3 and 4 you’ll increase the Yoga and Pilates and LISS cardio to 15 min. a day. For your Sun Salutations, the first two will be Sun Sal C and the last two you’ll try Sun Salutation B. This changes the Low Lunge to either a Warrior 1 or Crescent Lunge and adds a Chair Pose on the way up to standing in Mountain Pose.
Sun Salutation B
In August I’ll post the next steps in the challenge, building on what we did this month. And next week I’ll be reposting my article on the benefits of Yoga and Pilates and why you should be doing them on the regular! Have a great week and get out and enjoy the summer while it’s here!
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