How to Get the Right Intensity during Cardiovascular Exercise

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Monitoring Intensity during Cardiovascular exercise

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise involves an increase in the consumption of oxygen, which causes the breathing rate and heart rate to increase.

It involves the repetition of movements of the large muscles of the body with the most common forms being walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, boxing and dancing.

Heart rate is a great way to determine how intense the exercise is. A casual walk may only increase the heart rate a little, therefore it is categorised as a low intensity of exercise. If you have a heart rate monitor, you may be able to track this throughout exercise.

To calculate your heart rate maximum and your intensity goals use the following calculation:

Heart Rate Maximum = 202 – (0.7 x age)

You can then use a percentage of this number to achieve your intensity goal of exercise


  • Heart rate goals for a 30-year-old.

  • Heart rate maximum: 202 – (0.7 x 30) = 181 beats per minute.

  • Moderate intensity 55-70% maximum heart rate = 110 – 139 beats per minute

Perceived Exertion Scale

perceived exertion scale

Another great way to monitor your intensity is by using the rating of perceived exertion scale.

The scale is numbered 0 to 10 and is based on your own perceived exertion levels. This scale has shown to be accurate and has been validated and used in a large amount of research studies.

If you have any concerns or questions, please discuss these with the Exercise Physiologist as you are the only one who knows how it feels on your body, so you must communicate any concerns when they arise.

To book in a consultation with one of our Exercise Physiologists, phone 6122 0166.

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