The Rate of Perceived Exertion, RPE, is a scale that helps you rate how you are feeling while performing physical activity and exercise. By using the descriptive words that relate to a number and your maximum heart rate, you can gauge your target heart rate based on how you feel. Remember you do not want to work at your maximum heart rate!
For example, if you are working at 50% of your maximum heart rate, the activity should feel very light. Exercise becomes somewhat hard when you work at 70% of your maximum heart rate. Depending on your fitness goals, you can vary intensity. Try mixing up your routine so that sometimes you do longer workouts that are moderate intensity, a three to six on the RPE scale. Then try pushing hard for short intervals of intensity, such as running, to achieve an RPE of seven to nine. By tracking your actual heart rate and comparing it to the scale of perceived exertion, you can track how your body gets stronger with your training.
During most of the activities in our daily lives such as cooking, running errands, strolling (leisure walking), shopping, watering the plants, and doing light housework, the heart rate is not elevated significantly and the breathing rate still feels normal.
Moderate activity gets your heart pumping and increases your breathing. You may break into a light sweat but you still feel as though you could continue the activity for quite a while and carry on a conversation. These activities are part of an active lifestyle.
- Brisk walking or hiking
- Pushing a lawn mower
- Riding a bike (level ground)
- Water aerobics
- Light gardening (weeding, planting, etc.)
- Weight training
- Speed walking
- Cycling on varied terrain
- Lap swimming
- Rugged hiking or rock climbing
- Carrying 10 lbs. or more
- Weight Interval training
- Vinyasa Flow Yoga
- Group Fitness class (Zumba, Spinning, Kick Boxing, etc.)