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Target Heart Rate

  [ 399 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 3, 2003

To receive the most benefits from your exercise program, it is important to keep your heart rate elevated. Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. It is low while at rest and high during activity. According to the American Heart Association, the ideal zone in which to exercise is 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate. This zone is called your target heart rate.

To Calculate your target heart rate (HR) range simply enter your age in the field below.

Age Target HR Zone 50-75% Ave. Max. HR 100 %
20 years 100-150 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
25 years 98-146 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
30 years 95-142 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93-138 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90-135 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88-131 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85-127 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83-123 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80-120 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78-116 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years 75-113 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

(Source: American Heart Association)

You can measure your heart rate by finding your pulse and counting the number of beats in a 15 second period; multiply that number by four to get your total beats per minute.

There are two places where you can measure your pulse. The first is on your wrist. If you are right handed, place your fingers on the front of your left wrist. You should be able to feel your pulse on the upper part of your wrist, next to your thumb. The second place to measure your pulse is on your neck. Find your Adam’s apple and place your fingers about one inch to the left or right of your Adam's apple. It may be helpful to lift your chin when finding the right spot. You can also buy electronic heart rate monitors at your local sporting goods store.

The American Heart Association recommends when you begin an exercise program to start at the lowest part of your heart rate zone (50 percent) and slowly build up to the moderate and higher parts of your zone (75%). It is possible after a long period of sustained exercise (6 months or more) to work up to 85% of your maximum heart rate, however working out at this intensity is not necessary to be fit.

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