Measure Your Exercise Intensity With The Talk Test
Question:What's a good way to monitor how hard I'm working my body during biking -- other than stopping mid-exercise to take my pulse?
If you don't have a heart rate monitor or don't want to stop mid-workout to take your pulse, you can do the simple "Talk Test" -- a low-tech and reliable test to gauge exercise intensity, based on how hard it is to talk as you're working out.
If you can talk and sing with ease, you're probably exercising at a low intensity. If you can't say more than a few words without gasping for breath, you're working your body at a vigorous intensity.
Most fitness professionals recommend a moderate-intensity workout, so you should be aiming for an intensity between those two extremes -- meaning you should be able to talk comfortably, but not sing.
Unless you're doing high intensity training or interval training, you shouldn't be so out of breath that you can't talk.