What Is Maximum Heart Rate
The maximum heart rate is the highest heart rate achieved during maximal exercise. One simple method to calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, uses this formula:
220 – your age = predicted maximum heart rate
Example: a 40-year-old’s predicted maximum heart rate is 180 beats/minute.
There are other formulas that take into account the variations in maximal heart rate with age and gender. If you are interested in learning more about these more accurate but slightly more complicated formulas please see these resources:
- Gellish RL, Goslin BR, Olson RE, McDonald A, Russi GD, Moudgil VK. Longitudinal modeling of the relationship between age and maximal heart rate. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 May 39:822-9. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17468581
- Gulati M, Shaw LJ, Thisted RA, Black HR, Bairey Merz CN, Arnsdorf MF. Heart rate response to exercise stress testing in asymptomatic women: the st. James women take heart project. Circulation. 2010 Jul 13 122:130-7. Epub 2010 Jun 28. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20585008
Your actual maximum heart rate is most accurately determined by a medically supervised maximal graded exercise test.
Please note that some medications and medical conditions may affect your heart rate. If you are taking medications or have a medical condition , always ask your doctor if your maximum heart rate/target heart rate will be affected. If so, your heart rate ranges for exercise should be prescribed by your doctor or an exercise specialist.
Why The Test Is Performed
Measuring the pulse gives important information about your health. Any change from your normal heart rate can indicate a health problem. Fast pulse may signal an infection or dehydration. In emergency situations, the pulse rate can help determine if the person’s heart is pumping.
Pulse measurement has other uses as well. During or immediately after exercise, the pulse rate gives information about your fitness level and health.
Maximum And Target Heart Rate
There is no definitive medical advice on when a resting heart rate is too high, but most medical experts agree that a consistent heart rate in the upper levels can put too much stress on the heart and other organs. If a person has a high heart rate at rest and is experiencing other symptoms, doctors may examine his or her heart function, Bauman said.
Knowing your heart rate during workout sessions can help know whether you are doing too much or not enough, the AHA says. When people exercise in their “target heart zone,” they gain the most benefits and improve their heart’s health. When your heart rate is in the target zone you know “you are pushing the muscle to get stronger,” Bauman said.
A person’s target heart rate zone is between 50 percent and 85 percent of his or her maximum heart rate, according to the AHA.
Most commonly, maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. For a 30-year-old person, for example: 220 30 = 190.
The target zone for a 30-year-old person would be between 50 and 85 percent of his or her maximum heart rate:
- 50 percent: 190 x 0.50 = 95 bpm
- 85 percent: 190 x 0.85 = 162 bpm
For a 60-year-old person, the target zone would be between 80 and 136 bpm.
You can either manually calculate your heart rate during exercise or use heart rate monitors that wrap around the chest, or are included in sports watches.
However, that’s not to say that exercising without getting the heart rate up to the target zone has no benefit, Bauman said.
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About The Digital Monitor
The digital monitor is automatic, with the measurements appearing on a small screen. Because the recordings are easy to read, this is the most popular blood pressure measuring device. It is also easier to use than the aneroid unit, and since there is no need to listen to heartbeats through the stethoscope, this is a good device for hearing-impaired patients. One disadvantage is that body movement or an irregular heart rate can change the accuracy. These units are also more expensive than the aneroid monitors.
Before You Measure Your Blood Pressure:
The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines for home blood pressure monitoring:
Don’t smoke or drink coffee for 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
Go to the bathroom before the test.
Relax for 5 minutes before taking the measurement.
Sit with your back supported . Keep your feet on the floor uncrossed. Place your arm on a solid flat surface with the upper part of the arm at heart level. Place the middle of the cuff directly above the bend of the elbow. Check the monitor’s instruction manual for an illustration.
Take multiple readings. When you measure, take 2 to 3 readings one minute apart and record all the results.
Take your blood pressure at the same time every day, or as your healthcare provider recommends.
Record the date, time, and blood pressure reading.
Take the record with you to your next medical appointment. If your blood pressure monitor has a built-in memory, simply take the monitor with you to your next appointment.
When blood pressure reaches a systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher, seek emergency medical treatment.
Ask your doctor or another healthcare professional to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. Have the monitor routinely checked for accuracy by taking it with you to your doctor’s office. It is also important to make sure the tubing is not twisted when you store it and keep it away from heat to prevent cracks and leaks.
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Exercise And Heart Rate
Like any other muscle, your heart needs exercise to keep it fit and healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health conditions, such as diabetes.
To keep your heart healthy, you should aim to do 150 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor about what exercise and target heart rates are safe for you.
One way to measure the intensity of your exercise is by using your heart rate. To exercise at a low to moderate intensity your heart rate should be at 50 to 70% of your approximate maximum heart rate.
The easiest way to get an approximate maximum heart rate is to calculate 220 your age. You then need to calculate 50 to 70% of your MHR.
For example, if you’re 40-years-old:
- your approximate maximum heart rate is: 220 40 = 180 beats per minute
- 50% of your MHR is 180 X 0.5 = 90 bpm
- 70% of your MHF is 180 X 0.7 = 126 bpm.
Alternatively, you can use our heart rate chart below to get a rough idea.
Remember if you’re on medications to slow your heart rate down, you may not be able to meet these upper heart rates and the aim should be to exercise at a rate that makes you lightly puff.
How Does The Heart Rate Calculator Work
Firstly, you can measure your Pulse Rate by holding two fingers over the wrist, neck or upper arm and counting the number of beats over a set period of time . Enter the number of beats into the Heart Rate Calculator as well as the time over which you recorded your Pulse Rate. After clicking the calculate button, the Heart Rate Calculator will show you your Current Heart Rate.
The best time to record your Resting Pulse is first thing in the morning, just after you wake up but before you get out of bed.
When Should I Worry About My Heart Rate
Before you become worried over your heart rate, it is important to know the things that can increase or decrease your heart rate.
Your heart rate might be increased
- Soon after you consume coffee or smoke
- Whenever you feel scared, anxious, or stressed out
- If the climate is hot and humid
- If you are obese
- If you are on certain medicines like decongestants
- If you indulge in binge drinking frequently
Health conditions that may increase your heart rate and could be improved upon by treatment
Some conditions like supraventricular tachycardia may cause a sudden increase in your heart rate at rest. This is a medical emergency and needs immediate medical attention. This condition may lead to sudden death.
Consuming heavy amounts of alcohol frequently can lead to a fast and irregular heart rate . This again is a medical emergency.
A persistent high heart rate can also mean that the heart muscle is weakened, which forces it to pump harder to deliver the same amount of blood.
You may have a lower resting heart rate due to
- Exercising regularly
- Low levels of thyroid hormones in the body
You should also be concerned about your heart rate if you notice your heart beating on an irregular rhythm frequently. This can be a serious condition known as arrhythmia for which you should see your doctor right away.
What Is The Pulse Rate
The pulse rate is a measurement of the heart rate, or the number of times the heart beats per minute. As the heart pushes blood through the arteries, the arteries expand and contract with the flow of the blood. Taking a pulse not only measures the heart rate, but also can indicate the following:
Strength of the pulse
The normal pulse for healthy adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. The pulse rate may fluctuate and increase with exercise, illness, injury, and emotions. Females ages 12 and older, in general, tend to have faster heart rates than do males. Athletes, such as runners, who do a lot of cardiovascular conditioning, may have heart rates near 40 beats per minute and experience no problems.
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What Is Body Temperature
The normal body temperature of a person varies depending on gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption, time of day, and, in women, the stage of the menstrual cycle. Normal body temperature can range from 97.8 degrees F to 99 degrees F for a healthy adult. A person’s body temperature can be taken in any of the following ways:
Orally. Temperature can be taken by mouth using either the classic glass thermometer, or the more modern digital thermometers that use an electronic probe to measure body temperature.
Rectally. Temperatures taken rectally tend to be 0.5 to 0.7 degrees F higher than when taken by mouth.
Axillary. Temperatures can be taken under the arm using a glass or digital thermometer. Temperatures taken by this route tend to be 0.3 to 0.4 degrees F lower than those temperatures taken by mouth.
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the ear drum, which reflects the body’s core temperature .
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the skin on the forehead.
Body temperature may be abnormal due to fever or hypothermia . A fever is indicated when body temperature rises about one degree or more over the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
When Heart Rate Or Rhythm Changes Are Minor
Many changes in heart rate or rhythm are minor and do not require medical treatment if you do not have other symptoms or a history of heart disease. Smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or taking other stimulants such as diet pills or cough and cold medicines may cause your heart to beat faster or skip a beat. Your heart rate or rhythm can change when you are under stress or having pain. Your heart may beat faster when you have an illness or a fever. Hard physical exercise usually increases your heart rate, which can sometimes cause changes in your heart rhythm.
Natural health products, such as goldenseal, oleander, motherwort, or ephedra , may cause irregular heartbeats.
It is not uncommon for pregnant women to have minor heart rate or rhythm changes. These changes usually are not a cause for concern for women who do not have a history of heart disease.
Well-trained athletes usually have slow heart rates with occasional pauses in the normal rhythm. Evaluation is usually not needed unless other symptoms are present, such as light-headedness or fainting , or there is a family history of heart problems.
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What Is The Heart Rate
The heart rate is the number of times the heart beats in the space of a minute.
The heart is a muscular organ in the center of the chest. When it beats, the heart pumps blood containing oxygen and nutrients around the body and brings back waste products.
A healthy heart supplies the body with just the right amount of blood at the right rate for whatever the body is doing at that time.
For example, being frightened or surprised automatically releases adrenaline, a hormone, to make the heart rate faster. This prepares the body to use more oxygen and energy to escape or confront potential danger.
The pulse is often confused with the heart rate but refers instead to how many times per minute the arteries expand and contract in response to the pumping action of the heart.
The pulse rate is exactly equal to the heartbeat, as the contractions of the heart cause the increases in blood pressure in the arteries that lead to a noticeable pulse.
Taking the pulse is, therefore, a direct measure of heart rate.
Target Heart Rates Chart
What should your heart rate be when working out, and how can you keep track of it? Our simple chart will help keep you in the target training zone, whether you want to lose weight or just maximize your workout. Find out what normal resting and maximum heart rates are for your age and how exercise intensity and other factors affect heart rate.
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Influences From The Central Nervous System
The heart rate is rhythmically generated by the sinoatrial node. It is also influenced by central factors through sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Nervous influence over the heart rate is centralized within the two paired cardiovascular centres of the medulla oblongata. The cardioaccelerator regions stimulate activity via sympathetic stimulation of the cardioaccelerator nerves, and the cardioinhibitory centers decrease heart activity via parasympathetic stimulation as one component of the vagus nerve. During rest, both centers provide slight stimulation to the heart, contributing to autonomic tone. This is a similar concept to tone in skeletal muscles. Normally, vagal stimulation predominates as, left unregulated, the SA node would initiate a sinus rhythm of approximately 100 bpm.
Norepinephrine binds to the beta1 receptor. High blood pressure medications are used to block these receptors and so reduce the heart rate.
Input to the cardiovascular centres
Increased metabolic byproducts associated with increased activity, such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen ions, and lactic acid, plus falling oxygen levels, are detected by a suite of chemoreceptors innervated by the glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves. These chemoreceptors provide feedback to the cardiovascular centers about the need for increased or decreased blood flow, based on the relative levels of these substances.
What Can Resting Heart Rate Readings Indicate
Resting heart rate is an indicator of fitness and general health. They are:
- In adults, a lower heart rate is correlated with a higher degree of fitness and a lower incidence of cardiac events, such as heart attacks.
- Highly trained athletes can have an RHR as low as 40. This may be because the lower rate translates to a heart muscle that is stronger and can pump blood more efficiently. Another explanation is that with vigorous exercise, there is the release of nitrous oxide in the hearts blood vessels, which increases the blood supply to the heart.
- However, a consistently higher heart rate has been associated with cardiovascular issues and premature death.
- A 2013 research that studied 3000 men for 16 years found that men with RHR greater than 90 were associated with triple the risk of death when compared to men with RHR below 80.
- An observational study conducted in Norway that looked at 20,000 participants found similar results, even when controlled for factors, such as body mass index and life.
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What To Do About A High Or Low Heart Rate
The range of normal heart rates is pretty large, but if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute or below 60 beats per minute , you should consult your doctor. Any type of issue with electrical signals that cause your heart to beat outside of a normal range is called arrhythmia. Tachycardia is when your heart is beating too fast, and Bradycardia is when your heart beats too slow.
Arrhythmia Tachycardia And Other Conditions
A number of conditions can affect your heart rate. An arrhythmia causes the heart to beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm.
Tachycardia is generally considered to be a resting heart rate of over 100 bpm, according to the National Institutes of Health, and generally caused when electrical signals in the heart’s upper chambers fire abnormally. If the heart rate is closer to 150 bpm or higher, it is a condition known as supraventricular tachycardia . In SVT, your hearts electrical system, which controls the heart rate, is out of whack. This generally requires medical attention.
Bradycardia, on the other hand, is a condition where the heart rate is too low, typically less than 60 bpm. This can be the result of problems with the sinoatrial node, which acts as the pacemaker, or damage to the heart as a result of a heart attack or cardiovascular disease.
Additional reporting by Kim Ann Zimmermann, Live Science contributor.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Jan. 12, 2018, to clarify what the target zone for the maximum heart rate is for a 60-year-old person.