In the first part of this article – here – I went through some of the pros and cons of HIIT. Now let’s talk about SSC (Steady State Cardio).
Article by Bella Trost
With cardio rooms always busy at the gym and running/hiking routes so popular since high-intensity interval training became the number 1 workout, many people have been ignoring steady state cardio or even stating that “it’s bad for you”. SSR might not be suitable for you if you’re short on time and you prefer fast workouts, but to get your body moving (at any level of intensity) is never a bad thing. Walking, jogging, etc. may not help to gain muscle but it has many health benefits. Health professionals say it can increase your lung capacity for easier breathing, boost your bone density to prevent osteoporosis, decrease depression and stress and promote heart health. Also there are many people who cannot do more than SSR. If you have an injury, or you’re overweight or new to training, or your fitness level is low for any reason, steady state cardio is the perfect thing to start with. It helps to build up your endurance and turn regular exercising into a habit.
SSC is moderate or low intensity, so you can do it longer. Maybe pedalling on a bike for an hour doesn’t burn as many calories as a 30-minute HIIT training session but it also doesn’t require the long recovery time that high-intensity training does, so you can do it more often.
Some people say steady state cardio is boring; others find it relaxing. It all depends on your mindset. Personally, I love hardcore training but sometimes it’s just not what I need. Sometimes I want to do some exercise but I don’t want to put stress on my body and I don’t want to exhaust myself. That’s when a longer cardio session just feels right. Comfortable yet useful. When I spend 40-60 minutes on a cross trainer, listening to my music, I can completely disconnect from the world and clear my thoughts. If I’m in a bad mood it usually helps me to get out of it. I work out with moderate intensity but I still break a sweat, I breathe, I use my muscles and I just feel good when I’m done.
It’s all about doing things in the right proportion and in the right amount. If you keep doing the same exercises over and over again, regardless of what type of exercises they may be, you might get bored and you’ll stop improving; you hit a plateau. When that happens, change it up! Maybe do both SSR and HIIT, each a couple of times a week. You will figure out what works for you. If you get bored and your body stops reacting to exercise, that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, you just need to change something.
SSR is not a high-intensity workout but it can still be challenging get you out of your comfort zone. It is not a bad form of exercise but it might be more effective if you combine it with other workouts. It also has many health benefits. Steady state cardio is part of most athletes’ training plans; even bodybuilders do it. It can make your heart rate go up, you can get a sweat on and you can burn fat with it. So don’t skip it just because it’s not a trend these days.