Intensity refers to the rate at which the activity is being performed or the magnitude of the effort required to perform an activity or exercise.

It can be thought of "How hard a person works to do the activity".

What is Moderate-intensity and Vigorous-intensity Physical Activity?

The intensity of different forms of physical activity varies between people. The intensity of physical activity depends on an individuals previous exercise experience and their relative level of fitness. Consequently, the examples given below are provided as a guide only and will vary between individuals.

 Moderate physical activities include:

  • Walking briskly (about 3½ miles per hour)
  • Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
  • General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
  • Dancing
  • Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
  • Water aerobics
  • Canoeing
  • Tennis (doubles)

Vigorous physical activities include: 

  • Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
  • Walking very fast (4½ miles per hour)
  • Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
  • Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood
  • Swimming (freestyle laps)
  • Aerobics
  • Basketball (competitive)
  • Tennis (singles)

You can choose moderate or vigorous intensity activities, or a mix of both each week. Activities can be considered vigorous, moderate, or light in intensity. This depends on the extent to which they make you breathe harder and your heartbeat faster.

Adapted from: