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How do I calculate my target heart rate during aerobic exercise?

Related Topics: Exercise, Target Heart Rate

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

5,093 Answers
267,496 Helpful Votes

Heart rate reserve

Your heart beat rises during aerobic exercise. It can rise from 70 beats per minutes (bpm) at rest to as high as 170 bpm or even higher during exercise, depending on the intensity of the exercise, your fitness level, your age, and other factors. Whether you train aerobically or anaerobically is determined by the intensity of your workout, and monitoring the intensity is the key to know if you are working out aerobically.

For many individuals, simply monitoring how the body feels while exercising is enough to determine the proper aerobic intensity. “Warm and slightly out of breath" is a good measure for aerobic activity; that is, ask yourself if you feel warm and slightly out of breath while you're exercising and if the answer is "yes," then that's good enough.

On the other hand, some people like to know with more precision how their body is doing during exercise. If that's the case for you, then taking your heart rate during exercise and using a target heart rate training zone might be just the ticket. Target heart rate zones range anywhere from 50% to 100% of your maximum heart rate (your maximum heart rate is based on your age). Aerobic exercise is anything less than 85%, and anaerobic exercise is anything above that. A nice starting point for a sedentary individual is somewhere in the range from 50% to 65% (you can always increase as you get more fit), and 65% to 85% for more conditioned individuals.

Try the heart rate reserve method for calculating a target heart rate. Here's the formula and an example of the method for someone 27 years old, assuming a resting heart rate of 70 bpm, and a training range of 70%. If you plug in other values, you can get other ranges.

    1. 220-age = Max HR.
    2. Subtract resting heart rate from Max HR = Heart Rate Reserve (HRR).
    3. Multiply HRR times percent you want to train at.
    4. Add back resting heart rate.

    Assuming a resting heart rate of 70 bpm, 27 years old, and 70% training range:
    220 - 27 = 193
    193 - 70 = 123
    123 x .70% = 86
    86 + 70 = 156

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Aerobic Exercise