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Explore The Many Benefits of Vigorous Physical Activity

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Vigorous-intensity exercise—sometimes called high-intensity exercise or vigorous physical activity—is activity done with a large amount of effort, resulting in a much higher heart rate and rapid breathing.

With this level of activity, the amount of effort you put in is considered hard to extremely hard. Vigorous physical activity it makes it difficult to speak in full sentences. Activities like running, cycling, and singles tennis are usually classified as vigorous.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a mixture of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for 40 minutes at a time, three or four days per week, to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Vigorous Physical Activity Examples

Many different types of exercise and sports can be performed at vigorous intensity, such as:

  • Jogging or running

  • Racewalking

  • Hiking uphill

  • Cycling more than 10 miles per hour or steeply uphill

  • Swimming fast or lap swimming

  • Dancing, fast dancing, and step aerobics

  • Strength training

  • Heavy gardening with digging, hoeing

  • Shoveling heavy snow

  • Martial arts

  • Playing sports with lots of running such as basketball, hockey, soccer

  • Singles tennis

  • Court sports such as handball, racquetball, squash

Measuring Exercise Intensity

Though you might have an idea when you hit a level of vigorous physical activity, you can look to these specific markers to know for sure.

  • Talk test: At vigorous intensity, you can speak only a few words at a time, not in full sentences. If you can easily talk, it's time to ramp up your exercise if you're aiming to hit the vigorous physical activity level

  • MET and calories burned: The effort required for vigorous-intensity exercise is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as greater than 6 metabolic equivalents (MET), burning more than 7 kilocalories per minute.

  • Heart rate: When you are aiming to hit the level considered vigorous physical activity, you should aim to get your heart rate of 70% to 85% of a person's maximum heart rate. This varies by age and fitness level, so you should use a heart rate zone chart or calculator to find this number for your age and gender. Some local gyms have it displayed on their walls too.

Benefits of Vigorous Physical Activity

There are plenty of reasons to take your workout up a notch. Engaging in vigorous physical activity can provide many health advantages. Let's explore below:

Lower Risk of Chronic Disease

A lack of exercise can lead to a greater chance of developing a chronic disease such as coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and various types of cancer. There have been multiple studies that have shown when you engage in vigorous physical activity exercise it can lower risk of chronic disease.

Improved Brain Health

All exercise, but particularly vigorous physical activity workouts, amps up blood flow in the brain and oxygenates frontal areas of the brain. This is true in school age students and the older generations.

Even for those in their 70s and 80s, moderate to vigorous physical activity can have health benefits such as decreasing their chances of developing Alzheimer's compared to their fellow peers who didn't exercise at all.

Improved Mood

I think this might be a no brainer, but exercise can improve your mood. Especially if you have been diagnosed with depression or experience depressive symptoms. Depression is a common and important illness affecting at least 1 in 5 people during their lifetime. Exercise has been advocated as an adjunct to usual treatment

Weight Loss

When you move more and engage in vigorous physical activity, it can be an effective way to shed unwanted pounds. Exercise can decrease abdominal fat, improving glucose/insulin metabolism, and boosting cardiorespiratory fitness.

In Conclusion

Getting Vigorous Physical activity can be beneficial to your health in so many ways. It's important for weight loss, improved mood, lower cardiac diseases and more. No matter what your goals are in life, whether it is to establish a better, healthier routine or to loose weight, there are so many ways that you can incorporate vigorous physical activity in your lifestyle.


Mead GE, Morley W, Campbell P, Greig CA, McMurdo M, Lawlor DA. Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004366. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004366.pub3. Accessed 02 February 2023.

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