Could Low-Intensity Interval Training Be Right For You?


You probably already know about the health benefits of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. These workouts combine intense workout intervals with short rest periods to burn calories, boost your fitness level and help you achieve your workout goals.

With HIIT, you can get a killer workout in 30 minutes or less. The drawback: These high-intensity workouts aren't appropriate for everyone. HIIT's cousin, low-intensity interval training (LIIT), offers a calmer, less intense alternative.

LIIT Basics

LIIT flips HIIT upside down, emphasizing low-intensity workouts interspersed with challenging circuits. Both workouts torch a ton of calories, but LIIT is easier on the joints and appropriate for all fitness levels.

A LIIT workout looks the same as HIIT, but the intensity is lower and the recovery period is longer. So you might walk at a brisk pace for 60 to 90 seconds and then slow to a stroll for 5 minutes of easy recovery.

Other examples of LIIT workouts include:

  • Hiking on a route that includes steep inclines interspersed with flat terrain
  • Wearing a weight belt at intervals during a workout
  • Doing a circuit that alternates walking with pushups, pullups and lunges

You can do a LIIT workout using almost any type of gym equipment, including an elliptical, treadmill, rower or stationary bike. And nearly every exercise can be converted to LIIT if you modify it appropriately. Just make sure to increase the resistance at different intervals and build in rest periods.

LIIT For Beginners

While HIIT intervals require you to exert 100% effort (until you're almost out of breath), LIIT is far less intense. Working out this way provides the same benefits, though. You just have to exercise for longer.

LIIT training is a great alternative for people who are new to exercise and those who have health conditions or injuries. They're appropriate for any age and fitness level and they're more sustainable than HIIT training. Plus, there's a lower risk of injury.

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To find a doctor or athletic trainer at Henry Ford, visit or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

Nick Parkinson, M.Ed., AT, ATC, TSAC-F Supervisor of Athletic Training with Henry Ford Sports Medicine, also leads Sports Performance training at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine. He is a regular contributor to Henry Ford LiveWell. Learn more about Nick.

Categories: MoveWell