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What Is Steady-State Cardio? All You Need to Know

If you're looking to perform an aerobic exercise, steady-state cardio can help you gain goals through steady and consistent exercise. Read more to add it to your routine.

Daniel Murphy
What Is Steady-State Cardio? All You Need to Know
Table Of Contents

Are you just starting your fitness journey and want to learn more about steady-state cardio? Or maybe you’ve been hitting the gym for a while now but need a refresher on how this exercise can impact your health. Either way, look no further.

We’ll cover the basics of “steady-state cardio” and why it can be vital to maintaining physical health. So grab some orange juice (or your favorite pre-workout) - let's get into it!

What is Steady State Cardio Exercise?

Steady-state cardio, also known as mono-structural cardio, is a form of aerobic exercise performed at a consistent level of intensity. It can be compared to jogging, requiring you to perform an activity with consistent energy expenditure over an extended period.

Steady-state cardio is a fantastic way to keep your workouts progressing effectively. Common steady-state cardio activities include running, cycling, rowing, and swimming.

How Long Should Steady State Cardio Workouts Be?

The duration of steady-state cardio workouts can vary depending on your fitness level and goals. Generally, if you’re a beginner or just starting a workout routine, you should start with shorter sessions of around 30 minutes.

As you progress and become more conditioned, you can increase the duration of your workouts up to 60 minutes. Remember that steady-state cardio should not be done for more than an hour, as this can strain the body excessively, leading to fatigue and injury.

In addition, it’s important to note that steady-state cardio should not be done daily. Because of the repetitive nature of this type of exercise, you should take at least one or two rest days per week to give your body time to recover and avoid overtraining.

When scheduling your workouts, it’s best to do steady state on alternate days and switch up the intensity or duration of your sessions every so often to keep challenging your body.

Benefits of Steady State Cardio

Steady-state cardio has plenty of benefits to shape your body perfectly and ease your mind with reduced pressure. Here are the benefits of steady-state cardio.

Improved Heart Health

Steady-state cardio can help improve your cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart and blood flow throughout your body. This type of exercise increases your heart rate, which helps to strengthen it over time and makes it more efficient at pumping oxygenated blood to all body parts.

Improved Aerobic Endurance

Steady-state cardio is an integral part of training. It can help you improve your aerobic endurance and make it through a challenging event like marathon running. Your body becomes better at handling the strain of continued exertion with regular practice.

Improved Lung Function

Steady-state cardio helps improve your lungs' functioning by increasing their capacity and making them more efficient at using oxygen. As your lungs become stronger, they can take in more air, leading to better oxygenation of the blood and increased physical endurance.

Stress Relief

Exercising regularly can reduce stress levels and improve your overall mental health. Steady-state cardio is a great way to do this, as it helps you to clear your head and focus on something positive.

Increased Energy Levels

Regular exercise helps increase energy levels, which can benefit those with low energy or lack of focus. Steady-state cardio can help you stay active throughout the day and have more energy for tasks that need to be done.

Weight Control

Steady-state cardio helps with weight control and maintaining a healthy body weight. It also helps increase muscle mass, improving metabolic rate and eventually burning calories more efficiently.

Improved Mobility

Regular exercise helps improve overall mobility and flexibility, benefiting those suffering from joint pain or stiffness. Steady-state cardio can help increase strength and range of motion, making it easier to perform daily activities.

Steady State Cardio Example

If the thought of walking, rowing, or jogging for 30 minutes bores you to tears, then don’t worry – there is an alternative. Enter 10/10/10 interval training - three versatile cardio workouts that give your routine variety and spice up your exercise.

Depending on your equipment, this could range from running intervals with weights, jumping on a trampoline, or hopping onto a stationary bike. So forget about drab, monotonous sessions in the gym; it's time to liven things up.

10/10/10 Training

  • 10-minute bike
  • 10-minute run (on the treadmill or outside)
  • 10-minute row

Use cardio movements like jumping jacks, jump rope, SkiErg, elliptical, or stair climber. You just have to choose three different modes and work at a consistent speed rate.

Is It Better to Do HIIT or Steady State Cardio Exercise?

If your life is already full of stress, taking high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may not be your best choice. The HIIT style of training puts a lot of strain on your body which can, in turn, hinder it from recovering from your workouts.

It’s best to stick with steady-state cardio exercise and practice the stress-reducing benefits that come along with it. But don't worry if you are a beginner—you can always build up an aerobic base before diving into full-on HIIT workouts.

Not only will this ensure your performance isn't suffering due to inadequate recovery between intervals, but it will also give you the added confidence to make that leap later down the line.

Add Steady State Exercise to Your Routine

With so many options for cardio machines, it can be hard to narrow it down. But don’t let all the choices weigh you down; just pick 3 different ones and dive in. You can go for something traditional like jumping jacks or add a little variety with a jump rope.

And if you want something more low impact, try the elliptical or the recumbent bike. Ensure your target heart rate is below 55% of your maximum and your speed stays consistent. Add 15 minutes of steady cardio to the mix each day, and before you know it, you’ll have a full-blown routine.


1. What are some steady-state cardio examples?

Steady-state cardio is an exercise where you maintain a steady level of intensity for an extended period. Examples of steady-state cardio include running, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, and walking or stair-climbing. All you need is comfortable shoes (preferably made for running) and an appetite for getting sweaty.

2. Is steady-state cardio good for fat loss?

Doing steady-state cardio is a good choice. If you enjoy long jogs or leisurely bike rides, then sure, go for it. But don't be fooled into thinking that spending hours doing monotonous exercises like running on a treadmill is the only way to see results. You can get just as great of a workout from engaging in high-intensity cardio activities like HIIT training.

3. What are the benefits of doing steady-state cardio cycling?

Steady-state cardio cycling is a great way to improve your overall cardiovascular health. It can help increase your aerobic capacity and help you sustain more prolonged bouts of exercise for activities such as running or just walking up stairs.

Steady-state cardio cycling can also help you burn calories and fat more efficiently. Because it works the major muscles in the lower body, such as the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, it can help tone those muscles and build strength.

Steady-state cycling is relatively low-impact and may be preferable for individuals who have joint problems or are new to exercise.

4. What is steady-state cardio?

Steady-state cardio, also referred to as low-intensity steady-state (LISS) exercise, is a type of cardiovascular activity involving working out consistently for an extended period.

The Bottom Line

Steady-state cardio is a form of aerobic exercise carried out at a consistent speed for an extended period. The short workouts for this exercise should be performed for 30 minutes, and longer workouts should be performed for 60 minutes.

It provides multiple benefits like stress relief, improved aerobic endurance, excellent heart rate, and lung function, increased energy levels, weight loss, and better mobility. It can be added into your routine with 10/10/10 training or running, brisk walking, swimming, and more. Beginners can add it to their routine and benefit from this convenient and healthy exercise.

Article Sources

  • Ferri Marini, Carlo, et al. ‘Effect of Steady-State Aerobic Exercise Intensity and Duration on the Relationship between Reserves of Heart Rate and Oxygen Uptake’. PeerJ, vol. 10, Apr. 2022, p. e13190. PubMed Central,
  • Foster, Carl, et al. ‘The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training vs. Steady State Training on Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity.’ Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, vol. 14, no. 4, Nov. 2015, pp. 747–55. PubMed Central,

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Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is a fitness enthusiast who has been exploring the fitness world for many years and is combining his passion for writing to create well-researched, engaging, and unique content.

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