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Stress Management Challenge Day 17 – Get your heart rate up

🎯 Today’s Mission:

To successfully complete today’s mission:

  • βœ… If you are someone who exercises regularly, aim for at least 10 minutes of vigorous activity today.
  • βœ… If you are someone who never or rarely exercises, then aim for at least 10 minutes of moderate activity today.
  • βœ… [OPTIONAL] Share your activity with us in the Stress Management Support Group
  • βœ… Complete the form at the bottom of the page when done.

πŸ’‘ More Info

Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart. You may not agree at first; indeed, the first steps are the hardest, and in the beginning, exercise will be more work than fun. But as you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise, then enjoy it, and finally depend on it.

Regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. It’s a common experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression. If athletes and patients can derive psychological benefits from exercise, so can you.

Aerobic exercise is any type of cardiovascular conditioning. It can include activities like brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling. You probably know it as β€œcardio.”

By definition, aerobic exercise means β€œwith oxygen.” Your breathing and heart rate will increase during aerobic activities. Aerobic exercise helps keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy.

πŸ‘Š  Exercise is a stress buster!

How can exercise contend with problems as difficult as anxiety and depression? There are several explanations, some chemical, others behavioral.

The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.

πŸ’£Turning it up a notch

While it’s really good to be lightly or moderately active throughout the day and there are many benefits associated with that which will grow your wellbeing, it has its limits.

For today’s task, we want you to stretch yourself towards more vigorous exercise that’s more challenging than what you would normally do.

Only when you challenge your body in this way will your level of cardiorespiratory fitness significantly improve.

βš–οΈ Measuring exercise intensity

❀️ Heart Rate Zones:

If you have a fitness watch or similar device then you can track your heart rate and exercise intensity.

If you do not have a device that is no problem at all! Scroll down to find out about 2 other manual methods that you can use!

Your heart rate will typically increase in proportion to the intensity of your exercise.

Here’s how the Heart Rate Zones method works:

  • 🟒 Light Activity: 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
  • 🟠 Moderate Activity: 70-80% of your maximum heart rate.
  • πŸ”΄ Vigorous Activity: 80-90% of your maximum heart rate.

You can determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

For example: If you are 29 years old your maximum heart rate is 191 beats per minute (220 – 29 = 191).

This means:

  • Light Activity (60-70%) would be 114.6-133.7 beats per minute.
  • Moderate Activity (70-80%) would be 133.7-152.8 beats per minute.
  • Vigorous Activity (80-90%) would be 152.8-171.9 beats per minute.

But there are also other ways to measure exercise intensity.

The two that we’ll be looking at today are:

  1. The Talk Test.
  2. Exertion Rating Scale.

Method 1 – The πŸ’¬ Talk Test:

The Talk Test is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to measure exercise intensity.

Here’s how it works:

  • 🟒 Light Activity: You can talk and even sing quite comfortably without feeling out of breath.
  • 🟠 Moderate Activity: You can talk but are too winded to sing.
  • πŸ”΄ Vigorous Activity: You have difficulty speaking in full sentences without gasping for breath.

Method 2 – πŸ₯΅ Exertion Rating Scale:

Using an exertion rating scale is another way to measure exercise intensity that doesn’t require any special devices.

It’s similar to the Talk Test, but a little bit more accurate because it involves multiple factors to consider.

Here’s how it works:

Rating:Exertion:
0None – could be sleeping or watching TV.
1Very light activity – hardly any exertion, but doing more than sleeping or watching TV.
2-3🟒 Light activity – feels like something you could maintain for hours if need be, easy to breathe, talk, and even sing.
4-6🟠 Moderate activity – light sweating, breathing heavily, can talk but are too winded to sing, still a somewhat comfortable level of activity but becoming more challenging to maintain.
7-8πŸ”΄ Vigorous activity – moderate sweating, have difficulty speaking in full sentences without gasping for breath, getting uncomfortable and difficult to maintain.
9Very hard activity – heavy sweating, can barely breathe or speak more than a few words at a time, extremely uncomfortable and very difficult to maintain.
10Maximum effort activity – heavy sweating, completely out of breath and unable to talk, cannot maintain for more than a very short time.

Exercise intensity ⚠️ warning signs

You should seek medical advice from your doctor or a registered medical professional before beginning any new exercise program or if you haven’t exercised in a long time and would like to start.

If you notice any of these warnings signs, you should immediately stop exercising and seek medical help:

  • Extreme breathlessness or breathing problems such as wheezing or coughing.
  • Chest pain or unusual pressure.
  • Extreme perspiration.
  • Dizziness, or fainting.
  • Severe muscle pain or cramps.
  • Nausea.
  • Severe pain in any muscles or joints.
  • Extreme and long-lasting fatigue after exercising.

❓ What exercise should you do?

When pushing for more vigorous activity, it’s a good idea to stick with exercise that you’re already familiar and comfortable with.

You don’t want to push hard when trying something new.

If you aren’t sure of which form of exercise to do, especially if you’re new to this, then we recommend you keep it simple and just start with brisk walking or running on the spot at home.

Be mindful of your breathing, heart rate, sweating, ability to talk and feeling of physical exertion to keep yourself in the moderate or vigorous level of activity.

Ideas for cardio include:

  • Walking.
  • Running (Road, treadmill or on the spot).
  • Skipping rope.
  • Cycling (road or stationary).
  • Swimming.
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Body weight or weights workout.
  • Cardio machines at the gym for example: Elliptical, Stepper, Assault Bike).
  • Dancing.

Totally lost for ideas?

No problem. To complete today’s mission you can do this fun, high energy, low impact workout below. It does not contain any complicated exercises except maybe a few fancy dance moves!


βœ… Mission Accomplished?

Fill in the form below once you’re done to keep track of your progress.

Which day of the challenge have you completed?
Name(Required)
Used to automatically email you a copy of your mission submission so that you can keep track of which missions you have completed.
Challenger's Pledge(Required)