There has been a lot of discussion about exercise and burning calories on different threads, and I have been thinking about it. Since my questions are an amalgamation of different threads, I thought I would just start a new one.
In response to a question by Cara, Meg mentioned that calories burned are more accurately determined based on heart rate than on a machine print-out. Having seen the variations in different machines when it felt like my effort was similar, I was not at all surprised to hear it. However, it made me wonder - I have been really excited to watch my resting heart rate go down as a result of my consistent exercise. Does this mean that because I'm getting in better shape, I'm burning fewer calories when I'm not exercising? Also on that same line, doesn't weight fit into the formula somewhere for how many calories are burned? The heart rate variable seems to make sense to me, but doesn't the heart have to work harder to push blood through all of the extra mass of a larger person? Thus, wouldn't a person at a higher weight burn more calories than a person at a lower weight, even when they had identical heart rates?
I also have heard a lot about a "fat burning" zone. On the stationary bike that I ride, it tells me whether I'm working out in the "fat burning" zone, the "aerobic" zone, the "endurance" zone, or the "training" zone. Since I think it's better to push myself as hard as I can, I spend most of my time in the "endurance" zone. Does this mean that I'm burning less fat than if I reduced my effort?
And, finally, I hate to be posting a cold weather exercise question this early in the season, but it's been really chilly here lately. I went on my walk / run last night, and it was about 30 degrees. I started out in a coat - and was freezing even then! - then as my body temperature went up, I opened the zipper, then took the coat off. At the end, my core temperature was warm, but my extremities, particularly my arms, were uncomfortably cold. Any thoughts on the best work-out gear for outside in the cold weather? I can't stand wearing sweats when I work out - I don't like to be uncomfortably warm, and it inevitably happens when I wear sweats.
Phew! Sorry so long. Any thoughts on any of these questions would be appreciated. I love that we have so much collective wisdom here!