With all of the recent and much-deserved hype over high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a true and loyal friend has been left behind: good, old-fashioned steady-state training. Gone are the days of 30-minute jogs, in favor of jump squats and 30-second sprints.
In contrast to high-intensity interval training, which alternates short, strenuous bouts of activity with slightly longer low-intensity rest periods, steady-state training refers to cardiorespiratory exercise in which your heart rate is kept relatively constant for an extended period — at least 20 minutes in duration and often in the 30- to 60-minute range. The intensity may be low, moderate or moderately high, but you must be able to sustain the activity for at least 20 minutes.
You can use a “talk test” to estimate your intensity: You can carry on a conversation with ease (low intensity), you can comfortably carry on a conversation but with slightly heavier and more frequent breaths (moderate intensity), or you have to pause every few words for a breath, and you’d rather not engage in lengthy conversation (moderately-high intensity).