14 Sep 2007
The most effective method of monitoring exercise intensity is to check your target heart rate (THR). The target heart rate gives and approximation of where your heart rate should be at a certain percentage of its maximum capacity in order to burn fat.
An individual exercising at 75% of his/her maximum heart rate will be exercising in an aerobic fashion. It is also helpful to establish a THR Zone. This is done by taking the maximum heart rate (220-Age) and multiplying that number by both 65% and 85%.
These numbers will establish the upper and lower limits of your thr zone. By keeping your heart rate during exercise between these two numbers your body will burn fat.
Dividing the Target Heart Rate and Target Heart Rate Zone numbers by 6 will determine 10 second guidelines for easier heart rate checks during exercise. This can be accomplished by counting your pulse either at the arteries on your neck or wrist with your two fingers for 10 seconds.
Remember, exercising at an intensity greater than the upper target hear rate zone limit (220- Age x 85) requires more energy consumption than the body can handle (working to hard). It will start to break down glycogen to keep up. Exercising below the lower limit (220-Age x 65) is not working hard enough. This body will not need to engage in aerobic pathways. In both cases, the body's ability to burn fat becomes less efficient.
There is a basic "rule of thumb" concerning aerobic exercise. You should exercise at an intensity that allows you to carry a normal conversation. If you are out of breath, you are in oxygen-debt and not burning fat.