Exercise Basics

*Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. The Wellness Institute for Economic Growth does not assume liability for injury or loss in connection with the instructions herein.

listen2bodyWhat story is your body telling you?

Read this Exercise Basics page and learn how to train your body, yourself forever.

Everyone’s body tells a story. The body of a man who walks with a limp tells of a past injury to his lower body. The body of a woman who can’t stand fully erect after being seated for long tells of stiffness and weakness in the lower back and hamstrings. The body’s ability to give us feedback is amazing, and becoming increasingly aware of all the body’s feedback is the key to building and maintaining a strong body. Since any person’s bodily response is their own, optimally a person learns to gauge his/her own body’s feedback and in sync adapts his/her routine. Many programs and personal trainers do not explain this, and for this reason they fail to enable someone to stay strong for life.

  • Persist in reading the rest of this page. You will discover that by utilizing two concepts you can take control of your own exercise and your own body.

The First Tool for Guiding Your Activity

Learn to use the following rating scale to assess how your body is responding to exercise.

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working. It is based on the physical sensations a person experiences during physical activity, including increased heart rate, increased respiration or breathing rate, increased sweating, and muscle fatigue. Although this is a subjective measure, a person’s exertion rating may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during physical activity (Borg, 1998).



Instructions for Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale

While doing physical activity, we want you to rate your perception of exertion. This feeling should reflect how heavy and strenuous the exercise feels to you, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue. Try to focus on your total feeling of exertion.

Look at the rating scale above while you are engaging in an activity; it ranges from 6 to 20, where 6 means “no exertion at all” and 20 means “maximal exertion.” Choose the number that best describes your level of exertion. This will give you a good idea of the intensity level of your activity, and you can use this information to speed up or slow down your movements to reach your desired range.

Try to appraise your feeling of exertion as honestly as possible, without thinking about what the actual physical load is. Your own feeling of effort and exertion is important, not how it compares to other people’s. Look at the scales and the expressions and then give a number.

  • 9 corresponds to “very light” exercise. For a healthy person, it is like walking slowly at his or her own pace for some minutes.
  • 13 on the scale is “somewhat hard” exercise, but it still feels OK to continue.
  • 17 “very hard” is very strenuous. A healthy person can still go on, but he or she really has to push him- or herself. It feels very heavy, and the person is very tired.
  • 19 on the scale is an extremely strenuous exercise level. For most people this is the most strenuous exercise they have ever experienced.

Borg RPE scale

© Gunnar Borg, 1970, 1985, 1994, 1998