When exercising it is very important that you are aware of how you are feeling as you are exercising.

Our body tells us how we are feeling, so it is important to listen to the messages it sends us.  The questions to ask yourself

  • How hard am I breathing?
  • Am I in any pain or discomfort?
  • Can I talk if spoken to?
  • Am I aware of any chest tightness or other angina symptom?

If the answer to any of those questions is either “VERY HARD” or “YES” then the intensity of the activity is too much !!

To get the benefits that physical activity can give you, it needs to be done for around 30 minutes or more.  If therefore you can only do that particular activity for a short period of time, then it is much better to slow things down and work for a longer period.  It is not just “how hard” something is but just as important is “how long can I do this for?”

One way of judging how hard something is, is to score it on a scale. This scale is known as a Perceived Exertion Scale.   There are many scales which can be used but the two most commonly used are either a  0 – 10 scale or  a 6 – 20 scale.  For your benefit I am going to use the 0-10 scale.

Zero on the scale equals rest, sitting or lying down, doing nothing.

1     VERY WEAK   –  LIKE WALKING VERY VERY  SLOWLY

2     LIGHT –  EASY EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES

3    MODERATE   – FEELS NOT ESPECIALLY HARD, NO PROBLEMS

4    SOMEWHAT HEAVY  –STARTING BREATH A LITTLE HEAVIER

5/6  HEAVY  – FEELING TIRED BUT NOT HAVING ANY PROBLEMS

7   VERY HEAVY – YOU CAN STILL GO ON BUT YOU  ARE NOW HAVING TO PUSH YOURSELF

8  STRONG  –  YOU ARE VERY TIRED AND ARE HAVING TO PUSH YOURSELF ALOT

9  VERY STRONG – VERY VERY TIRED UNABLE TO DO THIS FOR LONG

10  EXTREMELY STONG – THIS IS YOUR MAXIMUM OR THE STRONGEST    INTENSITY YOU HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.

When deciding where you are on the scale it is important to think about any discomfort or pain in legs, back or hips etc and to also think about how hard you are breathing, and how long you could do it for.  Then taking all those factors into account you choose a description that matches how you feel, you can also choose half numbers as well, this will then give you the number of where you are on the scale.

Learning this scale and using it will not only keep you safe, but will also enable you to do your tasks around the house and in the home with confidence.

So where should I be?

It is extremely important that you Warm Up before you exercise.  The perception scale for warm up is 1 – 2.  the video explains the hows and why’s.

When beginning an exercise programme for the first time is it strongly recommended that Moderate or 3 is the highest number that you work to  for the exercise part, as you get more familiar you can push yourself  to 4 and then on to 5.  When cooling down and returning to normal, start the cool down at the same intensity and then very gradually bring it back down to 1-2.

Work at these levels on a regular basis for at least one month.  As you get fitter you will then find that you can work a little harder.  At the end of your exercise you should be feeling great, not exhausted.   If you are feeling exhausted then you have worked too hard!!

REMEMBER you are the best Expert on you!!


RETURN TO MAIN ARTICLE PAGE