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How Do You Calculate Your Heart Rate

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Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age

How To Check Your Heart Rate

This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3

In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity its about 70-85% of maximum.

The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.

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Calculate Your Target Heart Rate Range

  • Using the Heart Rate Reserve Method:

THR = [MHR RHR ) x % intensity + RHR

The intensity levels are:

  • Moderate intensity 40-49% HRR
  • Vigorous intensity 50-59% HRR
  • For example, for a vigorous-intensity workout, start with the lowest HRR percentage to calculate the lower limit of that intensity range:

THR = + 60 = + 60 = 138 bpm

  • Next calculate the upper limit of that intensity range using the same formula, except use the higher percentage this time .
  • The lower and upper limits form your THR Range.
  • So using the example of a 25-year-old with a resting heart rate of 60 bpm who wants to do a vigorous workout, he or she should aim to achieve a heart rate range of 138176 bpm.

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Find Your Target Heart Rate

Monitoring your heart rate is a useful tool you can learn to use to guide your training and make sure youre getting the most out of your workouts. It can help make sure youre pushing hard on interval days and taking it easy on recovery days . But what do words such as light, moderate, and vigorous mean when it comes to exercise?

You can determine your exercise intensity using your maximum and resting heart rates. Then you can use the Heart Rate Reserve method to calculate your Target Heart Rate to determine what range your heart rate should be in for your desired exercise intensity. We provide a step-by-step process you can follow.

How To Prep For Measuring Your Resting Heart Rate

Maximum Heart Rate Formula

When you make the baseline measurements for your resting heart rate, dont do any strenuous training leading up to the measurement and make sure youre fully recovered from any activity.

Its best to measure your resting heart rate in the morning, right after you wake up. You can do it the old-fashioned way with a timer and a finger on your pulse, but for an accurate and easy way, consider using a heart rate monitor.

Before you go to bed, make sure you have your heart rate monitor handy.

When you wake up, its OK to go to the bathroom before the measurement if it helps you to relax. Clear away all distractions, like music, and do not speak or be spoken to during the measurement.

Its best to measure your resting heart rate in the morning, right after you wake up.

You should do the measurement more than once, preferably on consecutive mornings so that you get a baseline for your resting heart rate.

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Determine Your Resting Heart Rate

This one’s a little more time consuming, but it’s one of the best ways to manually record your Resting Heart Rate . Take your pulse before you get out of bed in the morning, and continue this for 3-4 days in a row to get consistent readings.

Your RHR improves, aka decreases, as you improve your fitness. That means if you’re earning 100 PAI per week on a consistent basis, you may see your resting heart rate go down! Because your RHR can change depending on your lifestyle, it’s a good idea to measure it on a regular basis to track your progress.

Target Heart Rate And Estimated Maximum Heart Rate

One way of checking physical activity intensity is to determine whether your pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.1

For moderate-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 64% and 76%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate based on your age. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 50 years = 170 beats per minute . The 64% and 76% levels would be:

  • 64% level: 170 x 0.64 = 109 bpm, and
  • 76% level: 170 x 0.76 = 129 bpm

This shows that moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 109 and 129 bpm during physical activity.

For vigorous-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 77% and 93%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. To figure out this range, follow the same formula used above, except change 64 and 76% to 77 and 93%. For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 35 years = 185 beats per minute . The 77% and 93% levels would be:

  • 77% level: 185 x 0.77 = 142 bpm, and
  • 93% level: 185 x 0.93 = 172 bpm

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Know Your Target Heart Rates

In order to calculate your target heart rate, you must first figure out your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the number of beats per minute your heart completes while you are at rest. The best time to check this rate is in the morning after a restful sleep before you get out of bed. The average resting heart rate for individuals over the age of ten is approximately 60-100 beats per minute, as detailed by the National Institute of Health. In addition, the average target heart rate zones, as well as the average maximum heart rates, for those between the ages of 40 and 70 have been detailed in the chart below:

150 beats per minute

Why Should You Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate

How to Calculate your Heart Rate

Heart rate-based training enables you to run at the right intensity in order to reach your training goals. In other words, training smart is better than always training hard.

Training intensity is divided into five heart rate zones from very light to maximum intensity. The heart rate zones are calculated as percentages of your maximum heart rate.

To determine your personal heart rate zones, you first need to know or estimate your maximum heart rate.

For example, within heart rate zone 4, youll be training at 8190% of your HR max and increasing your maximum performance capacity.

Alternatively, at heart rate zone 3 , youll be training at the slightly reduced level of 71-80% of your HR but you will still be improving the efficiency of blood circulation.

To determine your personal heart rate zones, you first need to know or estimate your maximum heart rate.

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How Do You Calm A Racing Heart

If you think youre having an attack, try these to get your heartbeat back to normal: Breathe deeply. It will help you relax until your palpitations pass. Splash your face with cold water. It stimulates a nerve that controls your heart rate. Dont panic. Stress and anxiety will make your palpitations worse.

Some Tips To Hit Target Heart Rate

In order to achieve your target heart rate, interval training in which short spurts of maximum effort activity are interspersed throughout longer and less strenuous periods of activity has been shown to keep your heart in this desirable range. Keep in mind that target heart rates differ based on each individual, and can be affected by certain medications.

Medications that can affect your heart rate include:

  • Asthma medications
  • Amphetamines or illegal drugs such as cocaine
  • Heart and blood pressure medication
  • Depression and anxiety medications
  • Thyroid medication

It is important to talk to your doctor if you are taking these drugs or any combinations of them. Because these medications can affect heart rate in their own way, your currently prescribed treatment regimen may have to be adjusted.

Target heart rates may vary based on factors such as age and personal fitness level, but understanding and calculating yours can help you get the most out of your workouts while protecting and even improving your health.

Related: Can you reverse heart disease?

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How To Check Your Heart Rate

According to the Harvard Medical School Special Health Report Diseases of the Heart, it’s easy to check your pulse using just your fingers, either at the wrist or the side of the neck.

  • At the wrist, lightly press the index and middle fingers of one hand on the opposite wrist, just below the base of the thumb.
  • At the neck, lightly press the side of the neck, just below your jawbone.
  • Count the number of beats in 15 seconds, and multiply by four. That’s your heart rate.

To get the most accurate reading, you may want to repeat a few times and use the average of the three values. For a resting heart rate measurement, you should also follow these steps:

  • Do not measure your heart rate within one to two hours after exercise or a stressful event. Your heart rate can stay elevated after strenuous activities.
  • Wait an hour after consuming caffeine, which can cause heart palpitations and make your heart rate rise.
  • Do not take the reading after you have been sitting or standing for a long period, which can affect your heart rate.

Various smartphone apps to check your heart rate are also available. For most of these, you place your finger on the phone’s camera lens, which then detects color changes in your finger each time your heart beats.

What Does A High Rate Mean

How to Calculate Your Target Heart Rate: 9 Steps (with ...

A high active heart rate can mean that a person is exercising too vigorously. If a person finds that their heart rate is higher than the recommended range, they should slow down or take a break.

Although it is beneficial for workouts to be somewhat challenging, it is not healthy to push the heart too hard.

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Understanding Target Heart Rate Zones

There are multiple heart rate zones that are detailed by the percentage of your maximum heart rate, and each can target a certain type of fitness.

Healthy heart zone: This zone describes where your heart rate should be during your warm up, which is approximately 5060 percent of your maximum heart rate. This zone is perfect for those just beginning to workout, as well as for reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.

Fitness zone: This zone is more intense and burns more total calories than the previous. It occurs between 60 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Aerobic zone: This is between 70 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate and is most often reached during endurance training. It is meant to improve the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Anaerobic zone: Between 80 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, this zone is used for performance training and improves the cardiorespiratory system, which helps you to better fight fatigue.

Red line maximum: The highest zone, which between 90 and 100 percent of your maximum heart rate, and very little training utilizes this intensity. Only those in exceptional shape should train in this zone with the approval of their physician.

What The Experts Do

Monitor Heart Rate for Motivation

For Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., most workoutstake place on an elliptical trainer in his home. His machine has electrodeson which he can place his hands to automatically see his heart rate. Itgives me a sense of how hard Im working, he says.

Blaha also uses his targeted heart rate to guide the course that heprogrammed into the machine, so that he works up to where he wants to be interms of exertion. Knowing your target heart rate and trying to achieve itcan be very motivating, he says.

Stay on Top of Your Heart Health

If you have a new or existing heart problem, it’s vital to see a doctor. Our heart health checklist can help you determine when to seek care.

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How To Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate

Originally published July 6, 2016 3:40 pm, updated October 12, 2020

Here are some of the most popular methods to calculate your maximum heart rate, arranged from the simplest to the most accurate.

Defining maximum heart rate is easy: its the highest number of beats per minute your heart can pump under maximum stress.

Determining your maximum heart rate, however, is a little bit harder but dont despair.

First, though, a little background.

Target Heart Rate Calculator

How to Calculate Your Heart Rate

Ever ask yourself, “how do I find my target heart rate?” Finding your target heart rate is easy with our target heart rate calculator. Target heart rate calculation can be determined for any age and activity level, enabling you to use a heart rate monitor and get the most benefit from your workouts.

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Higher Maximum Heart Rate With Lower Fitness

Healthy non-athletes almost reach their true maximum heart rate during an all-out test of maximum oxygen uptake. In our research, we usually add five heart beats to the highest heart rate achieved during a cardiopulmonary exercise test, but according to our new results that is three beats too many. The study also indicates that women and men have similar maximum heart rates, and that persons with below-average fitness generally have higher maximum heart rates than fitter persons.

The study includes 107 men and women between 22 and 70 years of age. They all had their maximum oxygen uptake tested at our lab, and then performed a standardized maximum heart rate test a few days later. The results show that the real maximum heart rate was 2.2 beats higher per minute than the maximum heart rate achieved during the test of oxygen uptake.

Notes To The Teacher: Pulse Rates

During each heartbeat, the muscles of the heart contract causing a wave of pressure which forces blood through the arteries. This wave of pressure is known as a pulse. There is one pulsation for each heartbeat. The pulse can be felt at various points on the body where the arteries are just under the skin, such as the temples, neck, crook of the elbow, wrist, groin, back of the knee, and the inside back of the ankle. The normal pulse rate varies with age. Below is a chart listing the range of heart rates and average heart rate for various ages.

With exercise or physical activity, the heart rate increases to supply the muscles with more oxygen to produce extra energy. The heart can beat up to 200 times per minute with extreme exercise. The brain sends nerve signals to the heart to control the rate. The body also produces chemical hormones, such as adrenaline, which can change the heart rate. When we are excited, scared, or anxious our heart gets a signal to beat faster. During a fever, the heart beats faster to bring more blood to the surface of the body to release heat and cool the body. The heart rate increases during and after a meal to send more blood to the digestive system. A trained athlete’s heart can pump more blood with each beat so his or her heart rate is slower. Likewise, an athlete’s recovery time is shorter.

Range of Heart Rates per Minute and Average Heart Rate for Various Ages


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What Is Your Activity Level

Your target heart rate depends on how physically fit you are. For example, if you are not active and not physically fit, your target heart rate is a little lower than the target heart rate of someone who exercises every day. This tool gives you a range of what your target heart rate is, based on how much you usually exercise.

To find your target heart rate range, you will choose the category that best matches your level of physical activity. The categories are:

  • Not active. You do less than 30 minutes of light activity no more than 2 times a week. Cleaning house, slow walking, and playing golf are examples of light activity.
  • Moderately active. You do up to 30 minutes of light to moderate activity 3 to 5 times a week. Brisk walking, jogging, riding a bike, swimming, and playing tennis are examples of moderate activity.
  • Very active. You do more than 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 times a week.

Target Heart Rate For Exercise

heart rate

Your target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. It is the level at which your heart is beating with moderate to high intensity. To determine your maximum heart rate, take 220 and subtract your age.

Sustaining a workout at this pace improves cardiorespiratory endurance. So knowing your target heart rate helps you pace your workouts. Exercising at the right level of intensity will help you avoid burning out or wasting time with a workout thats not vigorous enough to help you meet your goals.

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