Although any physical activity is better than nothing, if you are looking to improve your physical fitness then exercise should elevate your heart rate, make you somewhat breathless, and causes your muscles to burn.


Exercise intensity: How to measure it


In class, we use the Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, category scale 0-10 as a measure of intensity.

The original scale was introduced by Gunnar Borg. He rated exertion on a scale of 6-20 because he found it to be an easy way to estimate the heart rate of a healthy young adult by multiplying the number he gave by 10.

The scale is based on your perception of exertion – it is how hard you feel your body is working based on physical sensations during exercise. For example;  an increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, increased sweating, and muscle fatigue.

It is an excellent self-monitoring tool because it improves with you. Exercise doesn’t get “easier” you get better (fitter) while you are working out consistently.

I have put together the follow table based on the Borg scale so that you can monitor your exercise intensity at home. Click here: PRE and Training Zones


Understanding your exercise intensity and fitness


Making the most of your training time by understanding how to exercise at higher intensity safely can increase your fitness and reduce the time it takes to see improvements.

The new age workout is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and it has some impressive research hailing its superiority over steady-state exercise. But the latest research is showing only a 7% increase in HIIT fitness benefit over steady state.

Even though the Shape-UP program is based on HIIT,  if you have joint, back or other conditions that prevent you from exercising at the intense level, then tone it down and go for longer exercise session – your fitness will still improve providing you are exercising with focus.


Improving Your Focus on Fitness

Understanding and focusing on these 5 principals of exercising will help you get fit and stay fit easily:

  1. Exercise has to challenge you:  It’s great to get your body moving, but it will only get you so far. You have to work past your comfort zone to train your heart, lungs, and muscles to get stronger and fitter.
  2. What counts as a workout? It is essential to stay active and finding ways to move more, like, taking the stairs or walking to and from work, etc. However, a workout to improve fitness  has to meet specific parameters and they are to elevate your heart rate to an aerobic level safely.
  3. Burning calories is not the aim of the exercise.  Unfortunately, exercise doesn’t give you “brownie” points or the right to eat them.  Exercise changes the way the body uses energy.  By eating healthy wholefoods after a workout will help the body repair and rebuild muscles used. By contrast, foods rich in fats and sugars will hinder muscle regeneration and contribute fat deposits particularly around the abdomen.
  4. You have to do exercise for the rest of your life.  Sorry guys… exercise is forever….it  is not a means to an end. We humans, are born to live active lives. Modern technology makes it is near impossible to work the body sufficiently to ensure its continued health.  I think of exercise as an insurance policy for my future physical independence.
  5. Exercise boredom is the enemy.  Structure and disciple in an exercise program is vital,  but doing the same thing over and over is boring! It is the reason why the Shape-UP program changes each term. If workouts become stale, your fitness won’t improve. Reaching for new goals and trying new things makes fitness fun and exciting!

The most significant takeaway is that exercising doesn’t have to be the image you conjure that gives you a sinking and deflated feeling in your stomach.

Being part of our fitness community isn’t just about exercise it’s about forming lifelong connections with friends who workout for health and vitality.

If you haven’t joined us already, I invite you to sign up and be part of our community.

Click here to Join us today!


Live well with fitness!