If spending hours in the gym sounds like torture, then how about minutes?
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Clues to help you judge your exercise intensity
From the Mayo Clinic:
Light exercise intensity
Light activity feels easy. Clues that your exercise intensity is at a light level:
You have no noticeable changes in your breathing pattern.
You don’t break a sweat (unless it’s very hot or humid).
You can easily carry on a full conversation or even sing.
Moderate exercise intensity
Moderate activity feels somewhat hard. Clues that your exercise intensity is at a moderate level:
Your breathing quickens, but you’re not out of breath.
You develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity.
You can carry on a conversation, but you can’t sing.
Vigorous exercise intensity
Vigorous activity feels challenging. Clues that your exercise intensity is at a vigorous level:
Your breathing is deep and rapid.
You develop a sweat after a few minutes of activity.
You can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
Beware of pushing yourself too hard too often. If you’re short of breath, in pain or can’t work out as long as you’d planned, your exercise intensity is probably higher than your fitness level allows. Back off a bit and build intensity gradually.