The fat-burning zone can help in weight loss. The Department of Physiotherapy at Singapore General Hospital shares how it helps and gives tips on staying fit.
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Determing your fat-burning zone
Usually, during prolonged low to moderate intensity exercise, your body utilises a combination of fats and carbohydrates. The so-called “fat-burning zone” is the intensity at which your body utilises the greatest proportion of fat as an energy source.
This intensity is at 60 per cent of your maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), explains Mr Png. An easier way of finding your “fat-burning zone” would be to use a “heart rate reserve formula”.
First, you need to calculate your estimated maximum heart rate (MHR). If you are male, subtract your age from 220; if you are female, subtract your age from 226. When your exercising heart beat is between 60 and 70 per cent of your MHR, you are in the “fat-burning zone”.
E.g. a 40-year-old man's MHR would be 180 (220-40), and his fat burning zone would be between 108 and 126 heart beats per minute (60 to 70 per cent of 180).
However, Mr Png says: “A well rounded weight loss plan should include a restriction in caloric intake as well. It is no use exercising if you don’t restrict your caloric intake.”
How to stay fit and fab
Here are some tips to get you going on a regular exercise regime:
If you are unable to commit 150 minutes a week to exercise then commit 50 minutes. It is better to start small than to not start at all, and gradually increase the frequency.
Find somewhere convenient:
If you are very busy then exercise at a location near your work place or your home. Even getting off five bus stops earlier and brisk walking to your home is a good way to exercise.
Include family and friends:
Exercising with others is more fun and they can be your source of encouragement when you are feeling lazy or discouraged.
Do something you like:
Choose an activity that you enjoy so that you are more likely to keep doing it over the long term.