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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It’s Measured

Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It’s Measured

 

From the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Page

When you work out, are you working hard or hardly working? Exercising at the correct intensity can help you can get the most out of your physical activity — making sure you’re not overdoing or even underdoing it. Here’s a look at what exercise intensity means and how to make it work for you.

Understanding exercise intensity

When you’re doing aerobic activity, such as walking or biking, exercise intensity correlates with how hard the activity feels to you. Exercise intensity also is reflected in how hard your heart is working.

There are two basic ways to measure exercise intensity:

  • How you feel. Exercise intensity is a subjective measure of how hard physical activity feels to you while you’re doing it — your perceived exertion. Your perceived level of exertion may be different from what someone else feels doing the same exercise. For example, what feels to you like a hard run can feel like an easy workout to someone who’s more fit.
  • Your heart rate. Your heart rate offers a more objective look at exercise intensity. In general, the higher your heart rate during physical activity, the higher the exercise intensity.

Studies show that your perceived exertion correlates well with your heart rate. So if you think you’re working hard, your heart rate is likely elevated.

You can use either way of gauging exercise intensity. If you like technology and care about the numbers, a heart rate monitor might be a useful device for you. If you feel you’re in tune with your body and your level of exertion, you likely will do fine without a monitor…

The article goes on to explain the differences and signs of light, moderate, vigorous, and overexertion exercising.



Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Related MedlinePlus Page: Exercise and Physical Fitness

March 19, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , ,

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