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Target Heart Rate


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 locate your approximate age in the table below.


AgeTarget HR Zone 50-85%Ave. Max. HR 100 %
20 years100-170 beats per minute200 beats per minute
25 years98-166 beats per minute195 beats per minute
30 years95-162 beats per minute190 beats per minute
35 years93-157 beats per minute185 beats per minute
40 years90-153 beats per minute180 beats per minute
45 years88-149 beats per minute175 beats per minute
50 years85-145 beats per minute170 beats per minute
55 years83-140 beats per minute165 beats per minute
60 years80-136 beats per minute160 beats per minute
65 years78-132 beats per minute155 beats per minute
70 years75-128 beats per minute150 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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