Physical activity is recommended by health professionals to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and lengthen life. Many health organizations suggest that significant health benefits can accumulate when a person conducts at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activities or a combination of both.
Vigorous physical activities are seen to be more efficient than moderate activities in inducing metabolic and cardio-respiratory fitness. These are some strong predictor for morbidity and mortality thus vigorous activity have better health benefits from doing moderate activities alone.
Understanding What Vigorous Activity
Vigorous-intensity activity or exercise is a set of physical activity conducted with a large amount of exertion. At this intensity, a person has a substantial increase in heart rate and experience rapid breathing. Due to exertion, he or she will only be able to speak in short phrases while trying to catch their breath. Some people classify their exertion levels ranging from hard to extremely hard when doing vigorous activities. They are also referred to as hard exercises or high-intensity exercises which may include singles tennis, cycling and running.
Measuring Vigorous Intensity Activities
Vigorous activities refer to activities that have more than 6 METs or Metabolic Equivalent Task. These types of activities require the larger amount of oxygen that the consumes to conduct and complete the activity. Swimming, carrying heavy weights, jumping rope, soccer and running at 5 miles per hour all constitute vigorous activities.
- Talk Test
For an easy estimate of the intensity of a person’s physical activity is by using the “talk tests.” This practical and simple method will check a person whether their activity falls on the moderate-intensity or on the vigorous intensity. A person can still talk but will not be able to sing while doing a moderate intensity-activity. On the other hand, a person engaged in a vigorous-intensity exercise will not be able to utter more than a few words without taking a breath.
- Calories Burned and MET
Vigorous activities require more than 6 MET (Metabolic Equivalent for Task) and it means that a person is burning 7 kilo-calories in every minute. During this activity, a person will breathe harder and sweat more as the body uses more oxygen. Some examples of calorie-burning vigorous physical activities include callisthenics such as push-ups and jumping jacks as well as competitive sports. These activities can be done with different levels of exertion. The key for vigorous activities to burn maximum calories and lose weight with a workout plan is that it should be performed with intense effort. And because of this, vigorous-intensity physical activity may be done in less frequency than moderate-intensity activities as it is more taxing on the body.
- Heart Rate
Another means to measure vigorous activities is through the CDC. At this level of exertion, a person’s heart rate will reach 70 to 85 percent of his or her maximum heart rate. This also varies according to the age and the fitness level of a person, thus if using this, a person should refer to the heart rate calculator chart and seek the number for the gender and age.
- Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE
RPE or the rate of perceived exertion uses the Borg Perceived Exertion Scale. The scale places 6 as no exertion and 20 at the maximum exertion level. Vigorous activities fall around the 15-19 scale and the range can be rated subjectively. It may be hard, or very hard or extremely hard.
Common Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activities
Our usual day to day activities can fall around the moderate-intensity activities. But typical vigorous-intensity physical activities are more challenging and requires more effort. Some of them are:
- Race or Brisk Walking
- Uphill Hike or Trekking
- Cycling at 10 MPH or more or Uphill Cycling
- Swimming laps
- Aerobic dancing, step aerobics as well as Zumba
- Martial Arts
- Competitive sports such as tennis, basketball or soccer
- Climbing several flights of stairs
Heavy agriculture or gardening such as digging, shovelling snow, pushing heavy objects and carrying heavy loads.
How Much Vigorous Activity is Needed?
Health guide provided by various health association and authorities recommends certain amounts of exercise and physical activities to maintain one’s health and lessen various health risks. Basically, vigorous-intensity activities are recommended for about 25 minutes per day at least three times a week. A total of 75 minutes per week can provide various health benefits for the person. It can be interchanged with moderate intensity exercises to attain one’s goals on health risk reduction.
More is Better with Moderate to Vigorous Activities
Most people do exercises that involve a mix of easy, moderate and vigorous intensity. A mix of moderate and vigorous-intensity exercises conducted for around 40 minutes at a time for at least three to four days in a week is suggested for reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
When it comes to physical activities health professionals suggest a good mix of activities that keeps a person going and moving. The minimum numbers are for maintaining good health, but doing more is better. Longer work out and doing it more often will improve overall health fitness and help prevent the risk of chronic diseases as well as weight gain.
Reaping the rewards of Vigorous Intensity Exercise
When it comes to vigorous exercises, a person gets the most of your workouts if he or she is doing the proper exercise intensity for fitness and health goals. Sometimes, a person will only pick up moderate or vigorous activities because it is recommended by a health professional based on their current health status. Now if you are not feeling any effort or your heart rate remains too low, then you can pick up the pace to turn your exercise into a vigorous intensity. But if you are pushing yourself hard or your heart rate is too fast, then slow down a bit.
Before starting any vigorous activity or exercise program, you might want to discuss your physical fitness or workout plans with a doctor. You may need to take a certain test to gauge your exercise requirements according to your current health condition, gender, and age. It is also required for people with certain health issues such as diabetes, people with heart diseases, men over the age of 45 and women more than 55 years of age.
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