Proactive Study

Exercise Basics

Learn how you can safely exercise and enjoy the benefits of increased physical activity! Click to go to a specific section, or keep scrolling down the page to view all the content.

Normal Responses to Exercise

Understanding Your Lab Values

Safety Tips to Avoid Injury

How Much Physical Activity Do I Need?


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Normal Responses to Exercise

The Work Effort Scale describes the target range for how you should feel with exercise and activity.

6 Rest How you feel when lying in bed or sitting in a chair relaxed. Little or no effort.
7 Very, Very Light
9 Very Light
11 Fairly Light
12   Target Range: How you should feel with exercise or activity.
13 Somewhat Hard
15 Hard
17 Very Hard How you felt with the hardest work you have ever done.Don't work this hard!
19 Very, Very Hard


Make sure you stay in the Green Zones!

Work Effort During Exercise Immediately After Exercise The Day After Exercise

Zone 12-14

• Breathing harder
• Slight sweat
• Can feel muscles working
• Heart beating faster
• Short recovery (4-7 minutes)
• Feel comfortable
• Comfortable
• No aches or pains
• Could exercise again

Zone 15-16

• Breathless but not speechless
• Sweating
• Muscles working hard
• Heart beating strongly
• Short recovery (5-10 minutes)
• Comfortable
• Feel that muscles have worked
• Alert and feeling recharged
• Not more tired than usual
• Feeling of well-being

Zone 17-20

• Feeling very breathless & speechless
• Chest-tightness
• Pain
• Dizziness
• Nauseous
• Long recovery time (greater than 10 minutes)
• Muscles still tense
• Heart racing, pounding, fluttering
• Nauseous
• Dizziness
• Feeling of no energy or exhausted (more than usual)
• Unable to complete your day-to-day activities
• Pain


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Understanding Your Lab Values

Review your latest blood cell counts (lab values) before exercise. If your platelets and/or hemoglobin are low, your exercise routine may need to be limited.

Platelets are blood cells that help your blood to clot and prevent spontaneous bleeding.

Hemoglobin is a type of blood cell that helps carry oxygen.

General Exercise Guidelines for Platelet Lab Values

Use the table below to determine whether your exercise should be limited based on your platelet lab values. 

Range Walking Biking Strength Exercises
> 50,000 No limitations No limitations No limitations
30,000 - 50,000 No limitations No resistance on bike As tolerated, with light resistance bands only
21,000 - 30,000 No limitations No resistance on bike As tolerated, with light resistance bands only
11,000 - 20,000 No limitations No biking As tolerated, but NO resistance bands or weights
5,000 - 10,000 No limitations No biking Range of motion only
< 5,000  No limitations No biking No exercise


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Safety Tips to Avoid Injury

Follow these do's and don'ts for basic tips to maintain safe and satisfying physical activity.



When in doubt, use the "TALK TEST"

When you are being active, just try talking.
A moderate level of activity is what we recommend,
where you can talk comfortably, but can't “sing.”




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How much physical activity do I need?

These recommendations come from the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Experts developed these targets for amount of activity recommended based on the latest research showing how physical activity affects our health.

For more information, click the links below to some fact sheets (PDF files):


When you have reviewed the material, move on to try out four types of exercises:

Try These Exercises