You’re aware that not all workout levels are created equal. An older adult strolling down the street does not use the same energy or muscle as an Olympic sprinter attempting to set a personal best.
Whether your primary aim is weight loss, growth in strength, or something else, intensity is a crucial factor to consider in all of your workout regimens. But what is the optimum degree of intensity for your workout? How do you know whether you’re hitting it?
How to Define Exercise Intensity
The level of physical exertion required by physical activity is called intensity. The more you challenge yourself with inactivity, and the more your body has to fight to attain it, the more intense it becomes.
Because this is such a subjective idea, use objective criteria to establish how hard you’re working out. There are various options for accomplishing this:
- Target Heart Rate. Evaluate your maximal heart rate, then measure your heart rate while exercising to determine the intensity of your activity, according to one message. Your maximum heart rate is around 220 beats per minute (bpm) minus your age. However, this can vary depending on various personal circumstances. You should consult with your doctor to determine a reasonable maximum heart rate for you. The best target heart rate range for most persons and most goals is between 50 and 70% of the maximum heart rate. Your maximal heart rate should be 200 beats per minute if you’re 20 years old, and your ideal range should be between 100 and 140 beats per minute. You can use a heart rate monitor or feel your pulse to calculate your current heart rate while exercising.
- The Talk Test. You can employ what’s known as the “talk test” if you’re searching for something more straightforward and more intuitive. Attempt to speak as if you were conversing with someone else during your activity, then sing a few lines from a song. You’re not exercising hard enough if you can sing without difficulty and hold a conversation. Exercising too hard would look like not being able to speak at all because you’re so exhausted. You’ve found the sweet spot if you can talk with a bit of effort yet find singing difficult.
- Personal Effort. You should be able to judge your degree of intensity depending on how you feel and how much effort you’re putting in if you’ve had some exercise experience. You’ve reached a moderate level of action if you’re sweating and breathing hard. If you’re having a lot of trouble in various areas, you should probably reduce your efforts.
What Is the Appropriate Exercise Intensity?
What is the best exercise intensity for you?
More vigorous exercise is more valuable on certain levels since it is more complicated. However, varying levels of intensity are suitable for various applications and individuals.
- Minimal Intensity. Minimal intensity exercise, in which you exert minimal effort, is usually only recommended for people who are being rehabilitated. It may also be recommended for those just starting to exercise after a lengthy period of being sedentary.
- Low Intensity. Low-intensity exercise is ideal for warming up and cooling down, as it allows your muscles to adjust to variations in your activity levels. It’s also suitable for senior people who want to keep active and people who have health issues that prevent them from exercising at a higher intensity.
- Moderate Intensity. A medium-intensity workout is excellent if you want to get the most out of cardiovascular exercise like running or biking. It allows you to challenge yourself while also exercising for extended periods.
- High Intensity. High-intensity exercise is excellent for growing muscle and burning many calories quickly. Still, you must do it in short bursts rather than long sessions. That’s why high-intensity interval training (HIIT) needs you to switch between different levels of intensity throughout your workout.
Exercise Intensity is Complicated by several Factors.
Of course, we’ve simplified the discussion of exercise intensity to some extent. This topic can be complicated by many factors, all of which require your attention.
- Your current level of fitness. If you’re a seasoned athlete who is used to working out, you should go a step further than someone who hasn’t worked out in years. It would be best to be more cautious; the worse shape you’re in and the less experience you have
- Your age and general health. It’s also important to consider your age and overall health. As you get older, you should be more cautious and reduce your activity level.
- Your weather and the heat. Extreme heat and other weather conditions might worsen some of the issues associated with working out too hard. Consider reducing the intensity of your workout if you’re trying to work out during the heatwave.
- Hydration and nutrition. Exercising intensity can be affected by what you eat and drink; if you don’t drink enough water, high exercise intensity can lead you to pass out.
- Other medical issues. Specific health concerns, such as heart disease, should be addressed with caution; you may need to limit your exercise intensity artificially to protect yourself.
This is one of the reasons it’s crucial to consult your doctor regarding exercise intensity before starting a new routine.
Signs of Subpar Intensity
These are some of the indicators that you’re not working out hard enough in general:
- Lack of challenge
- There is no sweating or hard breathing.
- Singing is a breeze for you.
Excessive Intensity Warning Signals
Here are some warning signs if you’re working out too hard:
- Inability to take a deep breath.
- A lack of coordination.
- An abnormally high heart rate.
Exercise intensity can be challenging to gauge, especially if you’re new to the gym. One of the reasons why having a personal trainer by your side is so beneficial is that they can help you measure the intensity of your workout. Personal trainers can also assist you toward healthy training habits.
Reach out to me today if you’re interested in optimizing the benefits of your training regimen or if you have serious fitness objectives that you want to achieve.