What is the target heart rate formula?
Target heart rate is expressed as a percentage of your maximum safe heart rate.
The maximum safe hart rate is based on your age, as subtracted from 220. So for a 30-year-old, maximum heart rate is 220 minus 30, or 190 beats per minute. As your age increases your maximum safe target heart rate decreases.
Your target hear rate is your safe heart rate times the intensity of the physical activity you are performing.
Target heart rate = (220 – Age) * target physical activity intensity expressed as a %
Target Heart Rate Formula Example
Our user is a 40 year old exercising at 60% intensity. The target heart rate formula for this person is:
(220-40) x .60 = 108 beats per minute.
In this example target heart rate formula yields 108 bpm.
Tracking Your Target Heart Rate
The way to track your target heart rate is by measuring your heart beats per minute (bpm). There are traditional and more modern methods of counting your heart beats per minute
Count your heart beats by taking your pulse. The traditional, low tech way of figuring out whether you are exercising within the target heart rate zone is to stop exercising to take your pulse at your neck, wrist, or chest. The wrist is usually the easiest. You can feel the radial pulse on the artery of the wrist in line with the thumb. Place the tips of the index and middle fingers over the artery and press lightly. Do not use the thumb. Take a full 60-second count of the heartbeats, or take for 30 seconds and multiply by two.
Count your heart beats with an electronic wrist watch or chest strap. Use a chest strap for target heart rate tracking or your smart watch. These technological heart rate monitors all work by measuring electrical signals from your heart. They are frequently transmitted to an app or to another piece of technology. Many models let you analyze data via a computer and having that data allows you to interpret your workout and better understand the benefits from your exercise.
Many cardio machines have integrated sensors. Many of the cardio machines at your local gym will have plates you can hold on to in order to have the machine sense your heart rate. These methods are sometimes not reliable since the machines at your gym are frequently used and can not be calibrated properly. To make sure you are achieving your target (see target heart rate for weight loss) use newly calibrated machines or machines that have pulse sensors in good working order. If you know your workout pace you can ensure you are close to your target heart rate zone by exercising on the treadmill at that speed with a good inhale/exhale breathing pattern.
How does the Target Heart Rate Apply to Me?
Choosing your exercise intensity varies depending on your target.
Aerobic Activity is recommended by The Department of Health and Human Services. Recommendations for adults are 150 minutes of weekly moderate aerobic activity — such as brisk walking, swimming or mowing the lawn — or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — such as running or aerobic dancing. Target heart rate can also be very beneficial if your target is to perform cardio for weight loss.
Strength Training can be grouped with cardio in activities such as cross fit or high intensity interval training vs. strictly weight room training. The former will stimulate you aerobically more than the latter. Other types of training can be performed at different levels with free weights, weight machines or activities that use your own body weight — such as rock climbing or heavy gardening. Or try squats, planks or lunges. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.