How Much Intensity Do You Need To Get Fit?

People riding echo bikes in the gym, moving both their arms and legs

When it comes to staying active and getting in shape, you might hear a lot about “intensity” – but what does that really mean for you?

Understanding Intensity

Think of intensity as how hard your body is working when you exercise. If you’re taking a leisurely walk, that’s low intensity – it’s something you can do for a long time without getting too tired. High intensity is like when you give it your all – maybe in a Zumba class or when you’re late and running to catch the bus. That level of effort can’t be kept up for too long because it’s pretty demanding.

Adjusting the intensity of your workouts can be done in a few ways. You might walk faster or slower, lift heavier or lighter grocery bags, or decide to take the stairs twice instead of once before resting. It’s like turning up the volume on your favourite song – you can make the workout harder or easier depending on how you feel that day.

For example, walking back and forth in the garden might be your usual routine. But if you try to speed-walk around the block a few times with some ankle weights, you’ll feel a bigger challenge – that’s increasing the intensity.

You might have heard of workouts where you go really hard for a short time, then rest and repeat – that’s high-intensity interval training. It’s popular, but more doesn’t always mean better.

Finding Your Balance

Too much high-intensity exercise every day can wear you out and even lead to getting hurt. It’s like if you tried to cook a week’s worth of meals in one day – it’s just too much. Your body needs a mix of hard work and time to rest and recover.

Imagine if you wanted to get stronger so you could lift your grandchild without straining. If you tried to lift the heaviest thing you could every single day, you’d end up exhausted and sore. Instead, you could carry something a little heavy, like a big bag of pet food, in different ways over time, giving your muscles a chance to rest between days. That’s the smarter way to build strength.

How Do You Know How Much to Do?

It can be tricky to figure out the right amount of effort to put into your workouts. Doing too much can leave you feeling sore and tired, but not doing enough won’t help you get stronger or more fit. Some people keep track of their exercises in a journal to help figure this out.

But the best thing to do is talk to someone who knows all about exercise. They can help you find exercises that fit your life and how much effort you should put in. They’ll make sure you’re doing enough to make progress but not so much that you’re overwhelmed.

Let’s Get Moving

If you’re curious about how to exercise right for your body, we’re here to help. We can create a plan that fits your life and helps you feel great. For a free chat with a fitness pro, just click here.