Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Bob Greene says a workout that feels too easy (little sweating, no huffing and puffing, for example) won't produce any real results. So how do you know if your sweat sessions are challenging enough to help you slim down? You can rely on the perceived exertion scale, a tool that uses your breathing to determine how hard you're working out. Ideally, you want to be exercising at a 7 or 8. Here's a look at what each number represents:

0 This is how you feel at rest. You're not tired and your breathing is normal.

1 This is how you feel while working at your desk or reading. There is no fatigue and your breathing is normal.

2 This is what you feel like when you're getting dressed. There is little or no feeling of fatigue, and your breathing is still normal.

3 This is how you feel while walking across a room to turn on the TV. You may feel a bit fatigued. You may also be aware of your breathing, but it's still natural and slow.

4 This is the way you feel when you're walking slowly outside. There is a slight feeling of fatigue and your breathing is slightly elevated, but you're comfortable. You should experience this level at the start of your warm-up.

5 This is how you feel while walking at a normal pace. You're aware of your breathing, which is now deeper, and there is a slight feeling of fatigue. You should experience this level at the end of your warm-up.

6 This is how you feel while walking to a meeting that you're late for. There's a feeling of fatigue, but you can maintain this level of exertion. Your breathing is deep and you're aware of it. This is how you should feel as you transition from warm-up to your regular exercise session.

7 This is how you feel when you are exercising vigorously. There's a feeling of fatigue, but you're sure you can maintain this level for the rest of your session. Your breathing is deep and you're aware of it. You could carry on a conversation, but would probably not choose to do so. You should try to maintain this level during your workouts.

8 This is how you feel when you're exercising very vigorously. You're feeling fatigued and if you asked yourself if you could continue this pace for the remainder of your exercise session, your answer would be that you think you could, but you're not sure. Your breathing is very deep, and though you could still carry on a conversation, you don't feel like it. You should only try to exercise at this level after you feel comfortable enough at level 7. This is the level that produces rapid results for many people.

9 This is what you feel when you're exercising very, very vigorously. You'd definitely feel fatigued and you probably wouldn't be able to maintain this level for very long. Your breathing is very labored and it would be difficult to talk. You may sometimes reach this level when trying to reach an 8 on the scale; if you hit this point, slow up until you're back down to a level 7 or 8.

10 This level is all-out exercise. It's so difficult, you couldn't maintain it for very long, and therefore, there's no benefit to it.

(For all you C25K people, I'm wondering if this approach will work for your training program?)

3 comments:

Erin said...

I'm not a C25k person yet, but I have been considering it.

I'd like to get back to just liking to jog/run. I do interval training on the treadmill, but I think that is more for endurance.

Erin
http://marriedsinglemomof3.blogspot.com/

HappyBlogChick said...

In my c25k experience, I try very hard to stay at a 7, and when I slip into an 8 I try to scale back a touch. The rule of thumb is that we should be able to talk while we run. I think it's safe to say that we c25k-ers should be aiming for a 7 or MAYBE 8 ... anyone else want to weigh in here?

Bev said...

My workouts usually consist of varying levels of intensity but I do hit about 9 every workout for almost a minute lol. =0