Exercise Intensity

The effect achieved by exercise is affected by the intensity. The intensity and amount of activity needed to achieve many health-related and fitness benefits are less than for someone who has a higher level of activity and fitness. Because the exercise capacity of adults tends to decrease as they age, older adults generally have lower exercise capacities than younger persons. Thus, they need a physical activity plan that is of lower absolute intensity and amount than is appropriate for more fit people, especially when they have been sedentary and are starting an activity program.

Exercise intensity refers to how much work is being done when exercising.  The intensity has an effect on what fuel the body uses and what kind of adaptations the body makes after exercise (i.e., the training effect). Intensity is the amount of physical power, expressed as a percentage of maximum, the body uses in performing an activity. For example, it defines how hard the body has to work to walk a mile in 20 minutes.

Find Your Right Intensity Level

To get the best results, pay attention to your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), or how hard you are working on scale of 1 to 10.

Perceived exertion

You can determine intensity of your exercise from Perceived Exertion Scale, which is designed to estimate the intensity of exercise based on how you feel as you are working out. It correlates well with the target heart-rate zone formula.

On the Perceived Exertion Scale:

  • low-intensity level corresponds to 5 or 6, so if you walk as your workout, it should feel somewhat difficult
  • mid-intensity level corresponds to 6 or 7, walking should feel difficult, but not extremely so
  • high-intensity walking, running or any other cardiovascular exercise corresponds to levels 7 to 9, so high intensity cardiovascular exercise should feel somewhere between difficult and extremely difficult

Perceived exertion scale

1. Resting

2. Extremely easy

3. Easy

4. First feelings of exertion

5. Somewhat difficult

6. A bit more difficult

7. Difficult

8. Very difficult

9. Extremely difficult

10. Maximum exertion or “Can’t take it anymore”

The body uses different amounts of fuels (carbohydrates or fats) depending on the intensity and heart rate. The Heart Rate column below is an estimate for a 20 year old with a Max Heart Rate (MHR) of 200.

Intensity (%MHR) Heart Rate (bpm) % Carbohydrate % Fat
65-70 130-140 40 60
70-75 140-150 50 50
75-80 150-160 65 35
80-85 160-170 80 20
85-90 170-180 90 10
90-95 180-190 95 5
100 190-200 100

Low Intensity (up to 80% MHR)

This has the effect of improving general fitness and improves the muscles’ ability to use the oxygen delivered to them via the blood. This efficiency is accomplished by increasing the number of capillaries in the muscle.

Medium Intensity (80-85% MHR)

This intensity is around anaerobic threshold (AT) and improves an individual’s AT – allowing the body to work at a higher intensity while still working aerobically.

High Intensity (85-90% MHR)

The heart is a muscle and can be trained to become stronger and more efficient. This intensity of exercise places a load on the heart causing it to become stronger so it can pump more blood in one contraction.

Flat Out (90-100% MHR)

In this region the body works completely anaerobically – causing a quick build up of lactate (lactic acid). This kind of training, despite being very painful, improves the body’s anaerobic capacity – the production, removal, and tolerance to lactic acid.

Do You Want To Look and Feel Better?

If you are at a point in your life where you want to improve the way you look and feel, but you are not sure of the next step, a Personal Trainer may be exactly what you need to get you started on the road to success.

One-on-One Fitness Training is your opportunity to meet with a trained certified fitness professional to develop a fitness program specific to your needs and interests.

One-on-One Personal Fitness Training is by far the most popular program because of the phenomenal results individuals obtain.

One day at a time – sometimes just one moment at a time.  By making even a 1% change each day or each week to better your health, you will see great results in the long-term. And that’s what we all want, right?

Do You Need a Personal Trainer?

Answer these questions to determine if you would benefit from working with a Personal Trainer.  A Personal Trainer can design an exercise plan that works for you and your busy life at the right intensity level for you. One that empowers you to meet your fitness goals. Whatever they are, there is a program for you.

Mix it up with a Specialty Training Program such as TRX RIP Training, Muay Thai Kickboxing or even an Indoor Cycling class.  Join a group fitness class with a friend, ranging from Yoga to Dance, Strength to Fusion, Core to High Intensity Cardio, and More!  With so much variety, there’s something for everyone that is guaranteed to boost your metabolism and get your heart rate pumping!

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