Exercise Intensity
& Duration

How to assess your exercise intensity from the simple to the scientific!

Intensity is the amount of effort required to perform a certain type of exercise.

Here are some ways to assess your exercise intensity, from basic to in-depth:

Option A

The Talk Test

How easy is it to talk during the exercise?

  • Light intensity: you can have a normal conversation or even sing during exercise ?
  • Moderate intensity: you are still able to talk but would struggle with a full conversation; singing is not possible.
  • Vigorous intensity: you are unable to say more than a few words.
Option B

Measuring Resting and Exercise Heart Rate

First you need to check your Heart Rate while sitting at rest.

We recommend checking your heart rate at the wrist.

(Get a heart rate monitor or learn how to take your own heart rate.)

  • Find your radial artery at the wrist, just below the base of your thumb.
  • Place the tips of your index and middle fingers (not your thumb) over the artery and press lightly.
  • Take a full 60 seconds (timed using a watch) to count the heartbeats.

Note: A healthy 50-year-old should have a resting heart rate somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

  • Light aerobic exercise: an increase in heart rate to 30% above your resting value (multiply your resting heart rate by 1.3).
  • Moderate aerobic exercise: an increase in heart rate to 60% above of your resting value (multiply by 1.6).
  • Vigorous aerobic exercise: an increase in heart rate to 90% above your resting value (multiply by 1.9).


Option C

Borg Rating Scale of Perceived Exertion

How tough is the exercise? – Light, Moderate or Vigorous?