Let’s talk about exercise intenstiy. Exercise intensity refers to how hard your body is working during physical activity. Your heart rate, breathing, temperature and perspiration all measure your level of exercise intensity. Target heart rates for fitness and health gains are between 40 and 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate (maxHR). For ‘trewly’ fantastic health benefits; the goal is to work hard but not too hard.
With all my clientele I abide by the following philosophy;
PLAN > PROGRESSION > PERSISTENCE > OVERLOAD > OUTCOME
I find this is the best way to get results as your body will not make an adaptation useless you are put under stress. It is important to alter the intensity frequently (speed, distance, sets, reps, incline) otherwise your body will plateau and you will get frustrated by not achieving your desired results.
There is a variety of ways to measure your exercise intensity to make sure your body is getting the most out of every workout.
The body’s response to exercise
Your body’s response to moderate intensity exercise normally includes:
- Faster heart rate
- Faster breathing
- Feeling warmer
- Slight swelling of the hands and feet
- Mild to moderate perspiration
- Mild muscular aches for a day or two afterwards, if you are not used to the physical activity.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and seek medical help:
- Extreme breathlessness
- Breathing problems such as wheezing or coughing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Extreme perspiration
- Dizziness, fainting
- Severe muscle pain or cramps
- Severe pain in any muscles or joints
- Extreme and long-lasting fatigue after exercising.
Measuring exercise intensity
You may need to experiment to find out which method of measuring exercise intensity suits you best. The different measurement methods include:
- Target heart rate (are between 40 and 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate (maxHR). Maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 beats per minute (bpm) minus your age.)
- Talk test (talking is a reliable way to measure exercise intensity. Suggestions include:
- If you can talk and sing without puffing at all, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.
- If you can comfortably talk but not sing, you’re exercising at the right intensity.
- If you can’t talk at all without gasping, slow down the pace.
Exertion rating scales include and rate from feeling warm, sweating, being able to talk, sweating heaps and not being able to talk all the way through to exhaustion
The easiest way to explain it is on a scale of 1 – 10;
0 – exertion is having a bourbon or chardy on the couch
3 – exertion is a slow walk or gentle housework or gardening
5 – exertion is a warm feeling and a slight huff and puff like a vigorous walk, or moderate swim
7 – exertion is a good sweat and only being able to answer questions instead of chat whilst exercising / lots of huff and puff
10 – exertion is absolutely FLAT OUT and not able to talk one bit / exhaustion
Although, intensity and variety are the key ingredients to your desired results not every workout needs to be uncomfortable but the majority should be enjoyable.