Patients often ask us how “intense” should their workout be to be effective and also safe.

Intensity is very subjective and is usually better addressed on an individual basis depending upon your health status. An easy starting tool is what is referred to as the “talk test” (whether an exerciser can converse comfortably during the activity without getting short of breath). If you are able to carry on a conversation your exercise is light to moderate. If you are unable to carry a conversation your exercise is considered vigorous.

A more involved measurement is to workout at your target heart rate. This is calculated by maintaining between 50- 75% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age in years. The table below will help you with this. Remember this is only a guideline. If you are on medication it may alter your heart rate and so you should use a combination of activity level measurements. If you are unsure, consult with us or your primary physician.

exercise intensity