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 85% 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.
|Age||Target HEART RATE Zone 50-85%||Ave. Max. HEART RATE 100 %|
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute||200 beats per minute|
|25 years||98-166 beats per minute||195 beats per minute|
|30 years||95-162 beats per minute||190 beats per minute|
|35 years||93-157 beats per minute||185 beats per minute|
|40 years||90-153 beats per minute||180 beats per minute|
|45 years||88-149 beats per minute||175 beats per minute|
|50 years||85-145 beats per minute||170 beats per minute|
|55 years||83-140 beats per minute||165 beats per minute|
|60 years||80-136 beats per minute||160 beats per minute|
|65 years||78-132 beats per minute||155 beats per minute|
|70 years||75-128 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: “During the first few weeks of working out, aim for the lower ranger of your target zone (50 percent) and gradually build up to the higher range (85 percent). After six months or more, you may be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.”