The Importance of Intensity in Physical Activity

hi I'm dr. Mike Evans and today we're talking about the importance of intensity in physical activity the stuff that gets your heart pumping to meet Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines you need to do at least a hundred and fifty minutes weekly of something called MVPA so MVPA stands for moderate to vigorous physical activity so why is this important well I guess in our lives we want to invest in simple actions that improve many things exercise does this from reducing heart disease or cancer to improving mental health simply improving the quality of our lives I often get asked what is the best exercise and my number one answer is definitely the one you'll do but my second answer is when possible do an exercise requires more effort or that is higher intensity the higher the intensity the healthier the results why well research has shown that higher intensity activities are more effective than lower intensity activities at improving our health especially when it comes to the important stuff like reducing your risk for heart disease but what is intensity well I think intensity can be thought of as how hard a person works to do a specific activity it's important to remember that no two people are the same so the intensity of different forms of physical activity varies between people and depends on someone's previous exercise experience and their level of fitness if you're inactive any amount of physical activity can provide some health benefits so it's best to start with smaller amounts of activity and gradually increase duration frequency and intensity so how do we measure intensity well we use something called a met so that's a metabolic equivalent so the high end running might be an 8 jogging a 5 and at the bottom would be resting or watching TV which would be anything less than 1.5 moderate intensity physical activity which measures 3 to 6 minutes requires effort and noticeably accelerates your heart rate so for example walking depending on your speed the met could range from 2.3 to 3.6 yardwork could be a 6 housework can be 3 to 3.5 and so on vigorous intensity physical activity which measures more than six Mets requires a large amount of effort and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in your heart rate think of sports or shoveling heavy snow it's difficult to sustain vigorous activity for a long time one way to think about this is to reflect on the research on athletes so for example cycling really really hard for 30 to 60 seconds and then relaxing for the same amount of time and then repeating what we call interval training has been shown to improve performance in a shorter amount of time the same can be true for the average person incorporating short periods of increased intensity into your routine can improve your fitness and decrease your risk of a long list of health complications still a little unclear let's make it even simpler if an activity doesn't cause changes in your breathing patterns or make you sweat then you're probably getting a low intensity workout if you can hold a conversation but still feel out of breath you're probably in the moderate range if you can't talk to your neighbor or sing out loud you're probably in the vigorous range if you can do moderate to vigorous activity at least 150 minutes per week you're meeting the target so go for a brisk walk grab a dance partner a garden hoe or even a vacuum cleaner and get ready get set and up and go that's all for now thanks for listening


  1. hi Doc, I am really impress the way you have describe the whole picture of Physical Activity specially INTENSITY.
    I have also tried to describe Fitness and trying to take it at the next level. Would you like to have a look and give your valuable inputs?

  2. of course the darker character has to be the lazier

  3. To reduce carb cravings, eat more meat and beef – the most nutrient sufficient food. Snack on raw coconut. Eliminate processed foods/sugars and chemicals.

  4. Energetic daily sex is the #1 best exercise for mind and body. Pushups #2 for body. Go up stairs or hills.

  5. Nice video. You may also want to checkout the review of Activity on my blog at smilereviews. com/activity-review/ Thanks. Ddt Elwood.

  6. Whats the program he is using for that handwriting effect?

  7. Good public health from canada

  8. I disagree with some points of this video, but let me say that a lot of it I agree with. I am a physiologist and a sports science graduate. I deal with clients everyday and I suggest that 3/4 bouts of aerobic exercise is better for health than anaerobic exercise. Aerobic is obviously fat burning, sustainable and is better for the heart. Human's aren't evolved to exercise anaerobically for extended period of times, yes interval training as you suggest is very beneficial. However, prolonged anaerobic exercise is not, it is actually rather detrimental. Anaerobic exercise produces stress hormones; i.e cortisol; which promotes fat production. Research has shown that those who regularly participate in long bouts of anaerobic exercise it increases the likelihood of heart arrhythmias by 18%. Sustained periods of anaerobic exercise also compromises your immune system temporarily and can cause insomnia. I know i'm going to get bashed, so if you don't believe me, do some research and read some of Dr Phil Maffetone's research.

  9. Great video and love the graphical treatment. I'm curious what you might have to say regarding plateauing and the degree of intensity? When working out, after I while it's easy to get desensitized to a routine and no longer get the same cardovascular benefits… To what extent should this be expected, on average? Any strategies for how to overcome these "ruts"?

  10. Physical activity is very important for everyone. Without physical activity people would become obese and lazy and nothing would ever get done. People’s physical health would fall increasingly fast and they would develop many health problems. You don’t have to run every day and go to the gym and do things you don’t want to do. The best activity you can do is the one that makes you happy and that you find to be fun! That way you won’t dread doing it every day. Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common killers of people in the United States. Just be increasing your physical activity you can decrease your risk for any cardiovascular disease. Intensity is the most important part of your exercise. The more intense your workout, the greater decrease in your risk for heart disease. Cardiovascular disease isn’t just your heart, it’s your whole cardiovascular system like your veins and arteries. Just a little bit more effort in your daily exercise routine can go a long way to helping prevent a cardiovascular disease.

  11. Great videos…

  12. Well said 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *