Health Tips / Exercise / How Hard to Exercise

How Hard to Exercise

For best results, your exercise effort must be moderate to vigorous. Here are some ways to tell how hard you are exercising.

Moderate exercise

You breathe heavier, but don’t get out of breath. You can talk but not sing. You break a light sweat after about 10 minutes.

Vigorous exercise

You breathe heavier and faster. You can only say a few words before pausing to breathe. You break a sweat after just a few minutes.

The “no pain, no gain” myth

You don’t have to exercise like a professional athlete to get health and fitness benefits. In fact, studies have found that:

  • People greatly improve their health by doing regular moderate exercise.
  • Small amounts of vigorous exercise produce the most benefits. Past a certain point, the health benefits get much lower.
  • Moderate exercise may prevent diabetes better than vigorous exercise.

Working out too hard can cause problems

  • It may raise your risk of getting hurt. Before starting to exercise, ask your primary care provider (PCP) how intensely you should exercise. It is especially vital not to overwork yourself if you have a health problem. Learn the warning signs that you are working out too hard.
  • When strength training, do not work the same muscle groups two days in a row. Give them at least one day of rest.
  • Your muscles may feel sore for a day or two after exercising. That is natural, and a sign that your muscles are growing. You can feel better and help your muscles grow by lightly stretching or massaging the area. Taking a hot bath or shower can also help. If soreness lasts longer than two days, check with your PCP.

Learn more about exercise