How do you rate the intensity of your workouts?


Guest article by Shwetha Bhatia

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is an easy way of measuring physical activity intensity level. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working. It is based on the physical sensations a person experiences during physical activity, including increased heart rate, increased respiration rate and muscle fatigue.

Although this is a subjective measure, it may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during physical activity (Borg, 1998).

During activity, use the Borg Scale to assign numbers to how you feel (see chart). Self- monitoring how hard your body is working can help you adjust the intensity of the activity by speeding up or slowing down your movements.

For example, a walker who wants to engage in moderate-intensity activity would aim for a Borg Scale level of "somewhat hard" (12-14). If he describes his muscle fatigue and breathing as "very light" (9 on the Borg Scale) he would want to increase his intensity. On the other hand, if he felt his exertion was "extremely hard" (19 on the Borg Scale) he would need to slow down his movements to achieve the moderate-intensity range.

This is a good way to guage where you stand!



Shwetha Bhatia is a registered dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association. She runs her practice under the brand name “Metamorphosis’ in Mumbai. She is also a competitive fitness athlete (IBBF Bronze winner at the State & National Level 2015). She has also set up her own gym and nutrition counselling centre in Goa called Gym & Tonic. She’s also a columnist for the fitness magazine Krunch Today.

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