This might be informative
Originally Posted by jazzon
In a practical sense what the system is telling you is -- wait I'm busy right now.
System load averages is the average number of processes that are either
in a runnable or uninterruptable state. A process in a runnable state
is either using the CPU or waiting to use the CPU. A process in unin‐
terruptable state is waiting for some I/O access, eg waiting for disk.
The averages are taken over the three time intervals. Load averages
are not normalized for the number of CPUs in a system, so a load aver‐
age of 1 means a single CPU system is loaded all the time while on a 4
CPU system it means it was idle 75% of the time.
To see a listing of system load use the commands w or top or (if installed) htop. The last two processes are real time so you can actually watch the load go up if you are watching a video or other CPU intensive activity.