Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

    Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) can help you measure how hard your body is working when you are exercising.

    Using a scale from 6 to 20, you choose a rating number to describe how difficult the activity feels based on how tired you are, how difficult it is to breathe, and how hard it is to do the activity.

    For most people, exercising at a moderate (RPE 12 to 13) to vigorous (RPE 14 to 17) level will help you get the most benefit from exercising. If you have health problems, your RPE goal may be different. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

    How hard do you feel the exercise is?
    Rating number Perceived exertion
    6 Very, very light
    8 Very light (you feel comfortable)
    10 Light
    12 Somewhat hard (you feel tired but you can keep going)
    14 Hard
    16 Very hard (you feel very tired, and you are pushing yourself to continue)
    19 Very, very hard (the most difficult exercise you have ever done)

    Health Tools 

    Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

    Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition. Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science

    Current as ofJune 4, 2014

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    © 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.