How should exercising make me feel Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

How should exercising make me feel?

These resources were produced by and in conjunction with Louisa Nielsen, Cardiothoracic and Adult Congenital Heart Physiotherapy Specialist at Southampton General Hospital.

While you’re exercising we want you to rate how hard your body is working, some of the signs include muscle ache, sweating, increased heart rate and increased breathing rate. Your physiotherapist will encourage you to use the ‘BORG’ scale during exercise. This scale allows you to rate how hard your body is working after you have performed your walking activity and can help you adjust the activity by speeding up or slowing down your movements.

When using this scale, 0 means you are ‘feeling no exertion at all’ and 10 means ‘the maximum exertion’ you have ever experienced.

To achieve moderate physical exercise we recommend you perform your walking activity between levels 3 and 4 on the BORG CR10 scale. The activity should feel quite an effort, making you tired but able to continue.

Rating Descriptiom
0 Nothing at all
0.5 Very, very light
1 Very light
2 Fairly light
3 Moderate
4 Somewhat hard
5 Hard
7 Very hard
10 Very, very hard (Maximal)

The ‘Talk Test’ rule

Another good way of knowing how hard to work is with this simple idea – while you are exercising try and say the following sentence:

“This exercise programme is going to do me good”

If you can sing the whole sentence slowly without stopping you are not working hard enough.

If you can’t speak at all, or say more than one word at a time, you are working too hard.

If you’re able to say the sentence slowly with a few stops that’s just right.

If you see stairs or a lift, you should try to take the stairs and walk up quickly (but not so fast as to cause dizzyness or chest pain). You will get short of breath but this is a sign that the exercise is effective. 

You should record your exercise and associated BORG scale in our Activity Log, which you can download and print here

Last Updated: September 8, 2016