In a world where High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is all the buzz, what has happened to steady-state exercise? Well it hasn’t gone anywhere and it’s still as prevalent as ever. No problems exist with steady-state exercise, and it’s still a very useful way to exercise. HIIT has become such a popularly trending topic because of it’s short amount of time required for beneficial exercise and the ability to burn more fat than steady-state exercise.

Walk ParkSo where does this leave steady-state exercise? Has it been left in the dust? It hasn’t, because while HITT is all the buzz, most people still perform plenty of steady-state work. Not every gym-goer is familiar with, or even able to perform, high-intensity interval training. Exercising in bouts of constant intensity is nothing more than going for a run on the treadmill or gliding along on an elliptical at the same level for a long period of time. “Long” is a relative term to each exerciser, as some would consider 30 minutes very long and others not. The point is, steady-state exercise is not irrelevant. There are plenty of reasons to continue to do steady-state exercise.

Here are 3 reasons to do steady-state exercise:

  1. Weight Loss. HIIT is the big topic these days, because you truly can burn a lot of calories. You’re burning a lot of calories because you’re working your tail off! HITT isn’t easy, and if you think it is, you aren’t doing HIIT! Maybe that type of training isn’t your cup of tea. Also, it’s only recommended to do interval training 2-3 times per week at most, so what are you going to be doing on the other days of the week? Losing weight is about burning more calories than you intake. You can still burn calories doing steady-state exercise. You may have to do longer bouts, but if you have the time and enjoy it, go for it! It’s also a safer way to lose weight.
  2. Endurance. If you’re training for a half or full marathon, a 5k or you just want to be able to walk in the mall without gasping for air, you need endurance. More importantly you need to train your body in an aerobic way. That’s precisely what steady-state exercise does. It builds up the endurance in your lungs and heart, allowing your heart and pumped blood to more effectively handle oxygen inhalation and exhalation.
  3. Meditation. Aside from losing weight and increasing your aerobic ability, steady-state exercise can be a tremendous way to meditate. Meditation means many things to many people, but you can treat longer bouts of exercise as a way to escape from the stresses of daily life without putting a lot of stress on your body as you would with HIIT. The ability to clear the mind is a dying practice, but the mastery of a clear mind begins with meditation. If you love listening to music, listen. If music is just more noise to you, unplug and listen to nature (if you’re outside) or the calming hum of a treadmill or recumbent bicycle in the gym.