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Measuring Exercise Intensity

You may have seen the advice that healthy adults should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week, but what does this mean?

Activity intensity is measured on a scale from low to moderate to vigorous. Heart rate monitors are an excellent way to track this, but they may not be accessible to everyone, so below is an easy beginners guide to measuring exercise intensity:

  • Low Intensity: Breathing evenly and could easily sing or hold a conversation.

For example: Slow walking, beginners yoga

  • Moderate Intensity: Breathing faster and able to hold a conversation but could not sing.

For example: Cycling, light jogging

  • Vigorous Intensity: Fast breathing and unable to hold a conversation.

For example: Sprints of a field or pool, high intensity interval training (HIIT)

Incidental activity can also contribute towards your weekly movement goals. Activities around the home such as cleaning, vacuuming, mowing, or gardening can be moderate to vigorous exercise. We can also increase our weekly movement by choosing to take the stairs, or getting off the bus a few stops earlier to walk to work.

Have a go at tracking your physical activity this week, both planned and incidental. You might be surprised at the result!


Disclaimer: It is recommended to consult a professional before implementing changes to your regular movement or undergoing a new exercise routine. Any advice given by Trilogy Physiotherapy is done so in good faith that our clients have sought approval from a professional before undertaking activity.

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