Knowledge Base

The Borg Scale

The Borg Scale is a subjective way to determine the level of physical activity during therapeutic exercise. Dr. Gunnar Borg, the creator of the scale, has split it down from 6 to 20 score as a reference for heart rate: multiplying Borg’s score by 10, gives the result value roughly corresponding to the heart rate for the relevant activity level.

How you might describe your exertion Borg rating of your exertion Examples (for most adults <65 years old)
None  6 Reading a book, watching television
Very, very light  7 to 8 Tying shoes
Very light  9 to 10 Chores like folding clothes that seem to take little effort
Fairly light 11 to 12 Walking through the grocery store or other activities that require some effort but not enough to speed up your breathing
Somewhat hard 13 to 14 Brisk walking or other activities that require moderate effort and speed your heart rate and breathing but don’t make you out of breath
Hard 15 to 16 Bicycling, swimming, or other activities that take vigorous effort and get the heart pounding and make breathing very fast
Very hard 17 to 18 The highest level of activity you can sustain
Very, very hard 19 to 20 A finishing kick in a race or other burst of activity that you can’t maintain for long

You can also use a modified Borg ten-point Scale.

  1. resting state;
  2. very easy;
  3. easy;
  4. moderate load;
  5. moderately difficult;
  6. difficult;
  7. very difficult;
  8. moderately heavy;
  9. hard;
  10. very hard;
  11. maximum load.


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