Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

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Topic Overview

Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) can help you measure how hard your body is working when you exercise.

Using a scale from 6 to 20, you choose a rating number to describe how hard the activity feels. You base the number on how tired you are, how hard it is to breathe, and how hard it is to do the activity.

For most people, working at a moderate (RPE 12 to 13) to vigorous (RPE 14 to 17) level will help you get the most benefit from your exercise. If you have health problems, your RPE goal may be different. Talk with your doctor before you start an exercise program.

How hard do you feel the exercise is?
Rating number Perceived exertion
6 Very, very light
8 Very light (You feel comfortable.)
10 Light
12 Somewhat hard (You feel tired but you can keep going.)
14 Hard
16 Very hard (You feel very tired, and you are pushing yourself to keep going.)
19 Very, very hard (This is like the hardest exercise you have ever done.)

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ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science

Current as ofMay 22, 2015