Week 5: Increase the Intensity!

Increasing the Intensity

Add UP: I will add daily 5 to 10 minutes of more intense activity by the end of the week.

  • For example, let’s say you walk 105 minutes weekly (15 minutes daily x 7 days) at a moderate pace. By next week you’ll walk 110 to 115 minutes including 5 to 10 minutes at a vigorous pace.
  • Add to your total time, 1 to 2 minutes of more intense walking each day.
  • Use the Talk Test to see if you are going from a light to moderate activity level or a moderate to vigorous activity level.

Step UP: I will add daily 500 to 1,000 steps of higher intensity by the end of the week.

  • For example, let’s say you take 8,000 steps daily at a light pace. By next week you’ll take 8,500 to 9,000 steps including 500 to 1,000 steps at a moderate pace.
  • Add to your total step count, 100 to 150 more intense steps each day.
  • Use the Talk Test to see if you are going from a light to moderate activity level or a moderate to vigorous activity level.

Conquer this Challenge: Do the Talk Test

The talk test is an easy way to gauge how intense your activity is.

    • If you are able to sing, then intensity is LIGHT
      • Examples: slow walking, stretching, dusting furniture
    • If you are able to talk but not sing, then intensity is MODERATE
      • Examples: brisk walking, water aerobics, doubles tennis, hiking, ballroom dancing, general gardening, washing windows
    • If you have a difficult time talking, then intensity is VIGOROUS
      • Examples: race walking, jogging (5 MPH), swimming laps, singles tennis, bicycling (10+ MPH), hiking uphill, aerobic dancing, heaving gardening, using push mower

6-Minute Stretch

        • Start your day with a refreshing and energizing full body stretch!


5-Minute Dance Cardio Workout

        • Increase Intensity with Fun Dancing!


Strategies to use this week

  • Set a timer. Program your timer to beep at intervals to remind you to boost the intensity during your workout.
  • Make intensity a game. Challenge yourself to pick up the pace between streetlights or parking meters during a walk.
  • Hunt for the hills or the stairs. Increasing the incline of your walk will boost the intensity level.
  • Walk to the beat. Make a workout playlist that includes songs with a mix of fast and slow beats. Pace yourself to the beat of the music.
  • Add calisthenics. A few minutes of jumping jacks or running in place will boost the intensity to your usual routine.
  • Find a partner. Working out with someone at the same or slightly higher fitness level as you can motivate you to increase the intensity level.

Cooking Veggies & Prepping Fruit
NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Color Your New American Plates with veggies and fruit prepared at home!

Dig Deeper

Why is intensity important? With more intense activities you raise your heart rate, which improves your fitness, and you burn more calories, which helps you get to and keep a healthy weight.

Research shows that being physically active decreases risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and endometrial cancer as well as reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Rules to increase intensity:

#1: Start Where You Are.

The intensity level of an activity is different for everyone and depends on your current level of fitness. If you are new to physical activity, the pace of your moderate-intensity workout may be slower than that of someone who has been working out for several months.

#2: Keep track of your intensity levels.

Make notes on how often and how many minutes you increased your level of intensity each day. This helps you see your progress and that you are increasing fitness.

#3: Increase the intensity level of your physical activity slowly and safely.

Start by warming up for a few minutes at a light intensity, and then do some moderate activities before you progress to vigorous ones.


  • Dining out? Check out  Nutritious, delicious condiments.
  • Try trendy ancient whole grains! Check out  Quinoa and its cousin Kaniwa.
  • Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 3. Make Peace with Food