What is moderate intensity exercise?

What is moderate intensity exercise?

Exercise that requires a medium amount of effort.

Moderate intensity exercise:

  • Describes aerobic exercise.
  • Requires a medium (moderate) amount of effort or exertion.
  • Noticeably increases your breathing and heart rate for an extended period of time but does not leave you feeling out of breath.
  • Is generally equivalent to a brisk walk.

Thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise, five days a week is the minimum amount of exercise recommended for all adults to promote and maintain health. More exercise is recommended to lose weight and keep it off.

How to determine moderate intensity

There are 3 methods you can use to estimate if you’re exercising at a moderate intensity:

1. Talk Test

If you can comfortably carry on a brief conversation while exercising but cannot comfortably sing your favorite song, you’re probably exercising at a moderate intensity.

2. Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

If your level of exertion during exercise feels like a 5 or 6 (on a scale of 1-10), you are probably exercising at a moderate intensity.

3. Target Heart Rate Zone

If your heart rate is between 64% – 76% of your maximum heart rate, you are exercising at a moderate intensity.

If you take any medication that affects your heart rate, the Target Heart Rate Zone method won’t be an accurate measure of how hard you’re exercising. Use the Talk Test or Rating or Perceived Exertion.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

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