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Moderate Intensity Exercise

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Updated June 21, 2014

Definition: Moderate intensity exercise refers to a level of exertion during exercise that raises your heart rate to a point where you sweat and feel you're working, yet you're able to carry on a conversation. The Department of Health recommends working at a moderate level if your goal is to improve your health and lose weight, but how do you know how hard you're working? There are a variety of ways to do this including:
  • The Talk Test - If you can carry on a conversation while you're working out, you're probably working at a moderate level.
  • Perceived Exertion - To use this method, match how you feel and your level of fatigue during your workout to this Perceived Exertion Chart. A moderate intensity would be around a Level 5.
  • Percentage of Your Maximum Heart Rate - For this method, find your maximum heart rate by using this formula: 206.9 - (0.67 x age) and work at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate to stay at a moderate intensity. For example, for a 40 year old person, maximum heart rate would be 180 (e.g., 206.9 - (0.67 x 40)). That person would keep their heart rate between 126 bpm (e.g., 180 x 70%) and 144 bpm (e.g., 180 x 80%) to stay at a moderate pace.

Examples of Moderate Intensity Exercise

  • Walking at a brisk pace (around 4 mph)
  • Riding a bike at about 10-12 mph
  • Swimming laps at a medium pace
  • Elliptical trainer at a medium level
Related Video
Simple Exercise Warm Up

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