Q: How do I know if I’m exercising at a low, moderate or vigorous pace? Do I need to purchase a monitor?
You don’t need to invest in a monitor to measure your intensity during aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise – use the Talk Test instead.
The Talk Test is a very simple strategy that research has shown to be an effective tool to assess exercise intensity. It is based on your ability to talk (and sing) while you workout.
- At a low intensity level you will be able to sing and easily carry on a conversation while you workout.
- At a moderate intensity level you will be able to talk during your workout, but singing will become very difficult.
- At a vigorous intensity level you will not be able to talk for any length of time during your workout. For example, it will be difficult to complete sentences – you may only be able to speak one or two words at a time. Singing during a vigorous workout will be virtually impossible.
Find a friend and give this a try during your next exercise session. It will give you a reason to talk your way through the session, which may have the added benefit of making your workout more enjoyable
AICR recommends at least 30 minutes of activity at a moderate level every day for cancer prevention. Be sure to include 3 to 5 minutes of light activity at the beginning and end of every workout to allow your body to properly warm-up and cool down.
Mary Kennedy, MS, is a Health Fitness Specialist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine