RPE: Ratings of Perceived Exertion is a tool for helping you to estimate how hard you’re working. Ratings are on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero (“0”) expresses how hard you’d be working if you were lying in bed and “10” relates to sprinting as fast as you possibly can. The break between RPE of 4 and 5 is known as the “talk test”, where you are still able to talk, but it is now a little challenging. The second marker between RPE of 6 and 7 is where talking becomes very difficult and you are able to say only a couple words at a time (this is referred to as the “lactate threshold”).
Ratings of Perceived Exertion
Talking becomes a little bit challenging
Talking is labored – only 1-2 words at a time
Walking Pace Terminology
Easy: walking at a slow, leisurely pace with low effort (RPE = 2-3). This level of walk could be thought of as a “stroll”.
Brisk: Walking at a moderate pace (RPE = 3-4). You should be walking at a steady pace, but still able to converse comfortably with a walking partner.
Power: walking at a quick pace (RPE = 4-5). At this pace, you can talk in short sentences, but not continuously as during “brisk” walks.
Speed Intervals: combining a period of very challenging (speed) walking (RPE = 5-6), followed by a period of easy walking (RPE = 2- 3). The length of time spent in each phase can be determined by time (seconds or minutes) or distance (such as the length of one city block or from one streetlight to another). For example, you might walk one block at a very challenging pace followed by 2 blocks at an easy pace and repeat this sequence 4 times.
Alternate Activity: A time in which you participate in an enjoyable activity other than walking. This could include gardening, active play with your kids, golf (walking the course is best!), swimming, tai chi, yoga, hiking, bicycling, weight lifting, or going to a museum, zoo, or park, etc.