Exercise Prescription & Progression

Factors for prescribing exercise

  • Your Exercise Therapist reviews your medical history, your current activity level, and your exercise goals and preferences when prescribing your initial exercise prescription.
  • You can monitor your exercise intensity by checking by using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. For more information on how to use the RPE scale, view our Getting Started on the Right Track section.
  • The RPE scale can be found on your exercise diary and is a scale from 6 to 20. Use the RPE scale to rate how difficult your cardio-based exercise felt, and how difficult your resistance training felt after each exercise session.
  • For cardio-based exercises, such as walking or cycling, the intensity of your exercise should feel “somewhat hard” or a 13 on the RPE scale.
  • For resistance training exercises, such as when using bands, dumbbells, or bodyweight, the intensity of your exercise should feel “hard”, or a 15 on the RPE scale.

When not to progress your exercise program

  • You have new symptoms related to your exercise.
  • You had a recent change to your medication or medical status.
  • Your exercise feels greater than “somewhat hard”, or more than 14 on the RPE scale.

When to progress your exercise program

  • Your exercise feels less than “fairly light”, or less than 11 on the RPE scale.
  • Your goal is to progress your fitness level.

How to progress your exercise program

  • When progressing your exercise program, only progress one element at a time.
  • For cardio-based exercise, you can progress your exercise program by (1) increasing the distance or time of your exercise, aiming to accumulate 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week; (2) increasing the speed of your current exercise, or (3) trying another mode of exercise (such as changing from walking to cycling).
  • For resistance training, you can progress your exercise program by: (1) increasing the frequency of days you are performing resistance training, aiming to complete resistance training every other day of the week; (2) increasing the weight or level of band you are using, or (3) considering different exercises.

Want more information?

  • Speak to your Exercise Therapist.