Have you ever started a recommended exercise program or workout and wondered exactly what it means to work at a high or low intensity? The authors of The Spark Solution have the answer. The two methods described below can help you figure out exactly how hard you are and should be working next time you exercise.
Rate of Perceived Exertion
Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) may be the most versatile method to measure exercise intensity for all age groups. Using this method is simple, because all you have to do is estimate how hard you feel like you’re exerting yourself during exercise. RPE is a good measure of intensity because it is individualized—it’s based on your current fitness level and overall perception of exercise. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, allowing you to rate how you feel physically and mentally at a given intensity level.
An RPE between 5 and 7 is recommended for most adults. This means that at the height of your workout, you should feel you are working “somewhat hard” to “hard.”
The Talk Test
The final method for measuring exercise intensity is the talk test. Like the RPE, the talk test is subjective and quite useful in determining your aerobic intensity, especially if you are just beginning an exercise program.
Using this method, you aim to work at a level where you can answer a question but not comfortably carry on a conversation. In simple terms, you’re working out too hard if you have to take a breath between every word you say. Conversely, you would be exercising too easily if you could sing the chorus of a song without breathing hard.
Work at an intensity that allows you to breathe comfortably and rhythmically throughout all phases of your workout. This will ensure a safe and comfortable level of exercise.
For a complete program on how to jump-start your own weight loss and improve your total body health, check out The Spark Solution.