18 Wed

Are you overestimating your exercise intensity?

Are you overestimating your exercise intensity?

Written by Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI


In a recent article in the New York Times, a study found that a majority of adults overestimate how effective their exercise routines were for their health.  Based on government guidelines, in order to garner any health benefits, an adult must exercise 150 minutes a week at a “moderate” intensity.  The level of intensity can be measured by heart rate.  Moderate intensity is usually between 65-75% of your maximum heart rate.

In the study, a groups of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years old were asked to run on a treadmill at a pace that they thought would place them in the “moderate” intensity category.  The majority of subjects wound up overestimating their “moderate” intensity exercise program, and were selecting an intensity of exercise that was much lower or easier than they were supposed to be exercising at.  They thought they were exercising at a higher intensity.

So what does that mean to you?  When you’re working out and really want to make your exercise effective, make sure you monitor your intensity properly.  Don’t just go on how you feel.  Although the “talk test” can be a quick and easy way to see if you’re exercising too aggressively, nothing replaces monitoring your heart rate to determine if you’re really exercising at the correct intensity.

Calculating your target heart rate is as easy as starting with your age:
220 – (your age) = maximum heart rate (MHR)
MHR x 65-75% = target heart rate

But be careful, certain medications can affect how your heart reacts to exercise and actually blunt the effect, so consult a physician if you have any major medical questions.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


Image courtesy of duron123 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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