Target Heart Rate

Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties. - Hugh Blair

Determining your target heart rate: If you are sedentary or have not participated in regular exercise, you may want to keep your target heart rate at the lower limit (i.e. 50-60%) of your maximal heart rate. Generally, exercising at 60-80% corresponds to weight loss and general fitness training although training at lower levels does provide valuable health benefits. Percentages above 85% target high performance aerobic training.

Maximum Heart Rate

The maximum heart rate for a male is about 220 minus your age, and for a female is 226 minus your age. These figures are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

Note: A few high blood pressure medications lower the maximum heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you're taking such medicine, call your physician to find out if you need to use a lower target heart rate.

Resting Heart Rate

This is a person's heart rate at rest. The best time to find out your resting heart rate is after a good night's sleep, and before you get out of bed. The heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute when we're at rest. Resting heart rate is used to determine one's training target heart rate.

Once you have chosen the high and low percentage with which you wish to start, will use the following formula to determine your target heart rate zone.

  1. Subtract your resting heart rate from your maximal heart rate.
  2. Then take this answer and multiply it by the lower heart zone limit you chose.
  3. Add resting heart rate back in.
  4. Repeat using higher heart zone limit you chose.

For example: You are a 30 year old male and have calculated your resting heart rate to be 70 beats per minute. You are somewhat conditioned and wish to exercise in 65-75% of your heart rate maximum.

In this example, you would try to
maintain a heart rate between
148 and 160 beats per minute.