Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

Weight loss and good health made simple

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finding the Right Exercise Intensity for Weight Loss.

Best Intensity for Weight Loss

Could exercise be a “magic bullet” for health?   It's certainly true that regular exercise helps prevent major diseases like cancer and diabetes; exercise can boost your mood, increase energy, and battle depression; exercise can also help weight loss.  A tough workout can also leave you feeling sore, tired, and ready to hang-up your workout gear for good.

Don’t love high intensity workouts? Here's some some good news:

"According to a recent study, women who participated in more moderate intensity workout sessions were happier, more energized, less anxious, and more likely to stick with their exercise program."
Moderate-intensity exercisers also reported increased levels of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that you have the knowledge and ability to achieve a certain goal and is a key to weight loss. One study found that improved self-efficacy during the course of a weight loss program increased the amount of weight participants lost - a double bonus!

So, what exactly is moderate intensity?   Well, one of the easiest and most effective ways to gauge the intensity of your workout is using a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale. RPE scales involve assessing how hard you feel you are working. There are several scales out there but most people chose a 0-10 scale:
  • 0 = sitting on a couch, totally relaxed
  • 1 = very weak, very little effort
  • 2 = weak, little effort
  • 3 = moderate effort
  • 4 = somewhat strong
  • 5 = strong, challenging
  • 6 = a little more challenging
  • 7 = very strong, very challenging
  • 8 = very, very hard
  • 9 = extremely difficult
  • 10 = hardest exercise you can imagine
Most people will be most comfortable exercising between 3-5 on the scale. Staying in the moderate intensity range may help you feel better after your workout and more likely to stick with your exercise program.