Vigorous Intensity

Last Updated: July 14, 2018

Definition - What does Vigorous Intensity mean?

Vigorous intensity is a term used to define the level of physical activity characteristic of a particular exercise. For example, a light intensity activity is one that requires a minimal amount of physical effort. However, vigorous or high intensity activities would be those requiring the most physical effort. The intensity of an activity may be classified using a system that measures the effort required in METS or metabolic equivalents. Using this scale, a vigorous intensity activity is one that measures at six METS or more. Vigorous intensity may also be referred to as high intensity.

WorkplaceTesting explains Vigorous Intensity

When evaluating exercises, the effort used to perform an activity is measured in MET units. MET is the acronym for metabolic equivalent task. A MET is a measure of the energy consumed by a physical activity. A person seated and at rest is said to consume one MET. Vigorous intensity exercises are those that use six or more METs, meaning that a vigorous exercise should consume six times the energy of sitting. Some examples of vigorous intensity exercises include running, climbing, and aerobic exercises. Digging or carry heavy loads are also high intensity activities.

Light intensity activities are those that consume less than three METs. In between light and vigorous or high intensity exercises are moderate ones that consume between three and six METs. Carrying moderate loads, building tasks such as roofing or painting, and gardening are all examples of moderate intensity activities. The Compendium of Physical Activity is a resource that lists many different types of physical activities and their corresponding MET score.

Vigorous intensity tasks will require more frequent, and longer, rest breaks than tasks that are less taxing to the worker and the task intensity should be considered in the ergonomic plan for the position.

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