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When it comes to health benefits vigorous-intensity activities have twice as much impact when compared to moderate-intensity exercise of the same duration. According to the NHS, vigorous-intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
The chart below gives you a visual indication of how vigorous-intensity should feel.
Don’t forget physical activity does not always have to be carried out in the gym. A great form of vigorous-intensity activity is playing a competitive sport. It does not have to be super competitive but just enough that you are working harder than you would work normally. I played tennis with a friend yesterday and we weren’t even keeping score but we were purposely trying to move each other around the court. Halfway through I turned my fitness tracker on to track my heart rate. The data was very similar to that of a high-intensity interval session on a treadmill. We played for an hour without rest 🤪.
Needless to say, I am feeling it today. Apart from the health and fitness benefits, I also thoroughly enjoyed myself. The hour flew by and I am still buzzing from the endorphins today.
If you want to increase your physical activity for health or fitness and you have no underlying heart condition then opt for vigorous-intensity activities like playing a competitive sport. It’s challenging, social and very fun.