Q5. How to Measure Intensity

How Do I Measure Intensity?

There are 2 different ways to measure Intensity – the level of effort (Relative) and the amount of energy (Absolute).

Relative Intensity

The level of effort required by a person to do an activity. When using relative intensity, people pay attention to how physical activity affects their heart rate and breathing.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. In general, if you’re doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Absolute Intensity

The amount of energy used by the body per minute of activity. The table below lists examples of activities classified as moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity based upon the amount of energy used by the body while doing the activity.

Moderate Intensity


•  Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
•  Water aerobics
•  Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
•  Tennis (doubles)
•  Ballroom dancing
•  General gardening

Vigorous Intensity


•  Race walking, jogging, or running
•  Swimming laps
•  Tennis (singles)
•  Aerobic dancing
•  Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
•  Jumping rope
•  Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
•  Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

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