How to Gauge Your Exercise Intensity
If you only have 30 minutes to exercise, would you prefer burning 150 calories or 300 calories? It all depends on how hard you are working out during the session. Unfortunately, sweating is not the best indicator to judge how hard you exercise. You can take a walk during a hot summer day in Texas and soak your clothes without burning a significant amount of calories.
The simplest and easiest way to gauge your exercise intensity is the perceived exertion test:
- Level 1: I’m reading my book while walking.
- Level 2: I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long.
- Level 3: I’m still comfortable, but harder to breathe only through my nose.
- Level 4: I’m sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly.
- Level 5: I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily.
- Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless.
- Level 7: I can still talk, but I don’t really want to. I’m sweating like a pig.
- Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period.
- Level 9: I am probably going to die.
- Level 10: I am dead.
For a new beginner, stay at a level between 4-6 to get you back in shape. If you have been working out for a while and want to add some variety to your exercise, you can try interval training: exercise to get to level 7-8 followed by 1-2 minutes of active recovery (when you go back to level 3-4.) Regardless of what you choose to do, as long as you stay physically active all day and make the appropriate food choices, the weight or inches will continue to shed.