Calculating Exercise Intensity

Number one on the seven healthy lifestyle tips is regular physical activity. Arguably the most important in maintaining health. Typically when we refer to the health benefits of exercise we refer to cardiovascular activity. The American College of Sports Medicine recommend 150 mins of Moderate to High intensity cardiovascular activity each week. This is spread over 3 – 5 days and the same recommendation is given by the Department of Health.

One question I am often asked is “how do I calculate my exercise intensity”? Firstly, we need to talk percentages. Typically 60-80% of your heart rate max is considered moderate intensity and 80%+ high intensity. Now time for some maths…

Heart Rate Max (HRM) = 220 – Age

Exercise Intensity for 80% = HRM x 0.8

All you need to do now is monitor your heart rate using a heart rate monitor. These can be purchased for a reasonable price at most sports stores and online. They include a sensor strap that sits at the base of the sternum (breast bone) and syncs with a watch.

Thats it for now. Come back next Friday for some helpful tips on which training intensity is best for you including maximal fat oxidation (fat burning zones).

Remember to consult your doctor before performing any new physical activity especially if you have a pre-diagnosed medical condition. Any exercise performed without supervision by a health professional is done at your own risk.

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