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Moderate vs. Vigorous Activity

Moderate Intensity

  • Walking briskly (3.5 miles per hour)
  • Golfing pulling or carrying clubs
  • Swimming, recreational
  • Tennis, doubles
  • Bicycling 5 to 9 mph, level terrain
  • Scrubbing floors, washing windows
  • Weight lifting

Vigorous Intensity

  • Jogging or running (5 miles per hour)
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis, singles
  • Bicycling more than 10 mph, or on steep hills
  • Moving or pushing furniture
  • Circuit training with weight machines

Finding Your Target Heart Rate

Talk Test: A simple way to estimate the intensity of any activity.

  • Light intensity – you can sing while doing these activities
  • Moderate intensity – you can carry on a conversation easily
  • Vigorous intensity – you will have a difficult time talking; may become winded or out of breath

Target Heart Rate: A more exact way to calculate your target heart rate.

  1. First find your heart rate: Turn your hand over so your palm is facing the ceiling. Place your first two fingers of the opposite hand on the wrist of the hand facing the ceiling. Find your pulse and count the number of pulses in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4. This is your current heart rate.
  2. Use the chart below: your target heart rate is based on your maximum heart rate, which is determined by age.
  3. Adjust your workout accordingly: If your heart rate is lower than moderate levels, increase your workout intensity. If your heart rate is higher than vigorous levels, decrease your intensity.

Helpful Tips:

  • During moderate intensity activities, your target heart rate will be between 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate.
  • During vigorous intensity activities, your target heart rate will be between 70% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.
  • If your heart rate falls below the moderate intensity zone, your activity is light intensity. Remember: You want to achieve moderate to vigorous activity most of the time.

How to Find Your Target Heart Rate

Age Moderate-Intensity Heart Rate Zone Vigorous-Intensity Heart Rate Zone Maximum Heart Rate
100-140 bpm
140-170 bpm
200 bpm
98-137 bpm
137-166 bpm
195 bpm
95-133 bpm
133-162 bpm
190 bpm
93-130 bpm
130-157 bpm
185 bpm
90-126 bpm
126-153 bpm
180 bpm
88-123 bpm
123-149 bpm
175 bpm
85-119 bpm
119-145 bpm
170 bpm
83-116 bpm
116-140 bpm
165 bpm
80-112 bpm
112-136 bpm
160 bpm
78-109 bpm
109-132 bpm
155 bpm
75-105 bpm
105-128 bpm
150 bpm
73-102 bpm
102-123 bpm
145 bpm
70-98 bpm
98-119 bpm
140 bpm
68-95 bpm
95-115 bpm
135 bpm
65-91 bpm
91-111 bpm
130 bpm

bpm= beats per minute


Vigorous Group Activity
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Ann Wrenshall Worley

Ann Wrenshall Worley

Assistant Director of Planned Giving

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