You thought cardiovascular exercise was simply cardio involving running or swimming and that was that. Now you keep hearing about HIIT cardio and steady state cardio, so you’re wondering what all of this means.

Let’s talk about steady state cardio vs. HIIT cardio and the benefits of each.

Steady state cardio is simply a continuous, steady aerobic exercise putting out the same amount of energy it takes to complete the entire workout. People running in a 5k or a marathon are doing steady state cardio – they keep the same speed throughout the entire race.
The benefits of steady state cardio include: increased endurance, weight loss, and it can improve a person’s overall mood and happiness.

HIIT cardio is high intensity interval training aerobic exercise done around 80-85% of your maximum heart rate, typically only for a few minutes at a time. Since HIIT cardio is more intense than steady state cardio, it is performed in short bursts followed by a rest period. HIIT cardio might also include circuit training.
The benefits of HIIT cardio include: Fat loss stimulation, an increased metabolism, and there is no equipment necessary – not to mention HIIT cardio is quick and convenient.

Now that you understand the difference between steady state cardio vs. HIIT cardio, why not try a sample workout:

Steady state cardio: Take a brisk jog for 2 miles every other day for a week. Slowly increase your speed to build up your endurance. Feel free to add on extra miles if you’re preparing for a race.

HIIT cardio: 25 jumping jacks, 10 burpees, 20 squat jumps, and 10 mountain climbers. Take a 60 second rest and repeat the circuit another 3-4 times – always take a rest after each circuit. Remember to perform these exercises as fast as you can.

by Kelly Turner

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