Could better fitness be just a chat away? According to new research by University of New Hampshire exercise scientists, measuring your exercise intensity is just a few spoken words away. Researchers measured the so-called "Talk Test" and found that although it's not perfect at determining how hard you're working out, it is a low-tech test to gauge exercise intensity that anyone can use.
The Talk Test is a pretty simple concept. When working out, you can determine your exercise intensity simply by seeing how hard it is to talk. When you can work out and can still speak comfortably, you're generally exercising at a lower intensity. When you're exercising at a hard enough intensity that makes speaking difficult, you're usually working out at a high intensity. Most fitness professionals recommend that people work out at an intensity that is between those two extremes—working out hard enough that you can't be a chatty Cathy but you can still speak a few words at a time without taking a breath.
Researchers gave the Talk Test to healthy adults, having them read the Pledge of Allegiance while exercising at different intensities and rating how easy or difficult it was to speak. The results? The Talk Test works and is easy to use. But the Talk Test does more than just tell you when you're getting out of breath. Researchers also found that the Talk Test actually helped to predict subject's lactate threshold, the point at which muscles can no longer metabolize and remove lactic acid.