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What is Steady State Exercise?

Even though fast food chains and bad habits have never enjoyed so much popularity as they do in the modern world, more people are also actively searching for ways to get healthy. And on this search, they come across terms like HIIT and SSE.

In other words, they come across many different ways to approach exercise and becoming more active.

In this article, the focus will be on Steady-State Exercise (SSE), and to help you get a better understanding of what this exercise is, we’ll be comparing it to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Of course, the benefits of SSE are included as well, so keep reading if you want to stay informed.

What is Steady State Exercise?

a woman goes for a sse run

Even though the term sounds like something that requires a handbook, it is not complicated at all.

Basically, Steady State exercise simply means you are engaged in an activity where you don’t push yourself beyond your limits.

Instead, you pace yourself and try to continue the activity for a long period of time, like long-distance running, cycling, or swimming.

So, to break it down, you are looking at exercise that makes you work at a steady and consistent pace, for longer periods of time.

Essentially, you want to get your blood pumping and benefit from a cardiovascular workout without feeling sick or putting too much risk into injury.

And if you want to get specific about the intensity involved with true Steady State exercise, the level should be low to moderate.

According to experts in this area of training, it is ideal if you can still hold a conversation while you train. Because the moment it becomes challenging to exercise and talk at the same time, then you are pushing too hard.

Steady State Exercise vs HIIT

a swimmer dives in to swim some laps

Of course, not everyone has the same goals, and not everyone is going to prefer SSE over HIIT. This is because the latter is known for getting results quicker, although it also entails a lot more risk.

You see, with HIIT, you have to push yourself incredibly hard for a short amount of time. And a good example of how this is done can be seen in Crossfit.

For some individuals, there is nothing better than making their heart pump to the point where it can burst out of their chest.

There is no denying that HIIT can be very effective. But the risks are serious, and sometimes the injuries can be permanent.

With HIIT, you literally tear your muscles bit by bit, because you want them to heal and become stronger. With SSE, you give your body more time to adjust, resulting in a gradual improvement as supposed to quick changes.

Steady State Exercise Benefits

This article is not going to debate why Steady State exercise is better than HIIT, seeing as it mostly comes down to personal preference and how you want to lead a healthier life.

But it will look at some of the benefits you gain when choosing SSE over more intense sessions at the gym.

1. You Put Less Strain On Your Body

First off, you are not going to put too much stress and strain on your body. This reduces the risk of injuries, be it temporary or even permanently.

For some people, it is just easier to work at a comfortable pace, and this makes SSE so great.

2. The Safer Choice When Nursing an Injury

steady state exercise is a decent option for people with minor injury

When you have an injury and you are in the recovery process, the best possible exercise will be low-intensity training.

In other words, you want to gradually help your body repair the injury.

And this is also why you shouldn’t engage in HIIT when nursing something like a knee or back injury because it can actually make things worse.

Although, if you are injured, it’s best not to exercise too much until you have recovered, and the best course of action would be to consult with a doctor to see if you’re healthy enough to return to working out.

3. Quicker Recovery Time

With some HIIT exercises, especially weightlifting (read about our favorite home gym here), you should give your body at least 48-hours of recovery time, if not more. If you don’t put in the recovery time, you risk a serious injury.

However, with SSE, the recovery time is much quicker. In fact, you can run 10 miles a day, every day, and you don’t have to worry about your body not properly recovering or healing in between runs.

4. You Get Time to Think

When you do high-intensity training, you only focus on the task in front of you because you only have a certain amount of time to get it done.

Steady State Exercise, on the other hand, provides you with the opportunity to clear your mind and relax.

And when you read about how great exercise can be for a positive attitude, a big part of this is based on the assumption that you enjoy low-intensity workouts.

5. Switching Fat into Fuel

a cyclist works out

There is no denying that HIIT will see you burning more calories quicker, but consider the fact that SSE helps your body to transform fat into a source of fuel.

And while it will take longer to lose weight, you are training your body to store fat in a smart way.

Now, just because everyone wants to lose weight quickly doesn’t mean it is the healthiest option. And for many individuals, losing weight should be an addition to your main focus, which is to simply lead a healthier life.

6. Proven to Improve Your Cardio Health

When you do a little research about SSE, you will find a lot of medical evidence stating it is a great approach for enhancing the health of your cardiovascular system.

In other words, it’s good for the heart and all your other organs that work with it.

Final Thoughts

Yes, it is slow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Besides, if your intentions are to change towards a healthier lifestyle without stepping too far outside your comfort zone, SSE could be the perfect exercise option.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the level of fitness you want to reach and how quickly you want to reach it. But you should also stay aware of the risks involved when pushing yourself too far.


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