Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

The Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale helps you rate how heavy and strenuous your physical activity feels to you, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue.

Do not focus only on one factor such as leg pain or shortness of breath, but try to focus on your total feeling of exertion. Look at the rating scale while you are doing your activity.

It ranges from 1 to 10, where 1 means “no exertion at all” and 10 means “maximal exertion.” Use the descriptors to decide which number best describes your level of exertion. If you don’t sweat, use breathlessness as your indicator of exertion.

Using the scale this way gives you a good idea of your activity intensity level. Speed up or slow down to reach your desired range.

Moderate activity should be around 5 – 6.
Vigorous activity is 7 – 8.

Try to appraise your feeling of exertion as honestly as possible, without thinking about what the actual physical load is. Your own feeling of effort and exertion is important here, not how it compares to other people.

The Scale:

Notes

  • 2 corresponds to “very light” exercise. For a healthy person, it is like walking slowly at his or her own pace for some minutes
  • 5 on the scale is “somewhat hard” exercise, but it still feels OK to continue.
  • 7 “very hard” is very strenuous. A healthy person can still go on, but he or she really has to push him/herself. It feels very heavy, and the person is very tired.
  • 9 on the scale is an extremely strenuous exercise level. For most people this is the most strenuous exercise they have ever experienced.