Experts in the field of exercise (myself included) go on and on all the time about how you should exercise at a moderate intensity or vigorous intensity - or some combination of both. But what does that even mean?
Today, I wanted to take a moment and explain to you a real world approach to figure out if you are working out hard enough so you can gain as much positive benefits from exercise as you can. Use this simple to test to figure out if you need to step up your intensity or if you need to back off because your pushing yourself too hard (which can lead to overexertion and higher chance of injuring yourself).
An easy way you can figure out if you are exercising in the moderate zone
in real time is to do the Talk Test.
With the talk test - you should be able to talk to your workout partner (or yourself) during your
exercise session. What you should not be able to do is sing during your workouts. If you can belt out your favorite song or current ear worm during exercise - you are not pushing yourself hard enough and this is your cue to increase your intensity - because you can handle it.
If you are already a seasoned exerciser and want to know if you are truly exercising at the vigorous intensity level, you should only be able to get out a few words to your workout partner or yourself between breaths.
Thats it! Now you have a quick and easy way to figure out your current exercise intensity* level and can determine whether or not you are ready to increase your intensity.
*If you have never engaged in an exercise program before, it has been a long time and/or you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes - speak with your healthcare professional first before engaging in an exercise program.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.