I was back in the gym this morning, doing my best to put in a good workout on the weights. While I was going through my routine, I kept hearing loud grunts and whelps from a largely built young dude who was lifting giant quantities of iron. He is a trainer (and according to his civilian T-shirt, a bodybuilder), who clearly works out a lot harder than I do. I started wondering if I lifted hard enough as I rarely make grunting or any other variety of animalistic noises. I started wondering if I should I be upping the workout ante?
This led me to the broader question about exercise: is it supposed to be a little painful? Is it really a workout if you aren't a little miserable while you're doing it?
Technically, the easiest way to think about this is by considering the difference between moderate and vigorous intensity exercise. From an aerobic exercise perspective, the difference is in the heart rate:
- Moderate intensity: 50% to 70% of maximum heart rate (depends on your age) or 89 bpm to 124 bpm for a 43 year old person (which might be kind of my age)
- Vigorous intensity: 70% to 85% of maximum heart rate or 124 bpm to 150 bpm for the same 43 year old person
- Moderate intensity activities (again, courtesy of CDC): walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking), water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing, general gardening. [I will resist the temptation to tease them on their choices.]
- Vigorous intensity activities: race walking, jogging, or running, swimming laps, tennis (singles), aerobic dancing, bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster, jumping rope, heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing), hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack (no, jet-packs don't count)
- 2 1/2 hours of moderate intensity activity per week plus two or more days of muscle strengthening activity OR
- 75 minutes (1 and 1/4 hrs) of vigorous intensity activity per week plus two or more days of muscle strengthening
- Lifting 4X per week (50 minutes per session): I'm good here.
- Aerobic: 1 spin class (50 min @ vigorous), 2X45 minutes on stationary bike (fairly vigorous, but maybe could be made more challenging) and 2-3X 30 minutes (on lifting days). That's about 200 minutes at moderate-to-vigorous intensity.