Rating Your Exercise Intensity

Sticking to your exercise program and avoiding overeating can be difficult in the upcoming holiday season. Remember to do things in moderation, as a wise soul once told us!

When exercising, the Cleveland Clinic uses the RPE scale to measure the intensity of your exercise. RPE stands for “rated perceived exertion’ and is a scale from 0 to 10 that lets you informally rate how difficult you personally find one activity or another.

The numbers listed relate to phrases used to rate how easy or difficult you find an activity. For example, 0 (nothing at all) would be how you feel when sitting in a chair; 10 (very, very heavy) is how you feel at the end of an exercise stress test or after a very difficult activity.

0–0.5: Nothing at all to just noticeable 1: Very light

2: Light

3: Moderate

4: Somewhat heavy

5–6: Heavy

7: Very heavy

8–10: Very, very heavy

cartoon woman walkingIn most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels  3 (moderate) to 4 (somewhat heavy). When using this rating scale, remember to include feelings of shortness of breath, as well as how tired you feel in your legs and overall.

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