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How To Calculate Target Heart Rate


There are many benefits of exercise, not least improving your cardiovascular endurance and weight or fat loss. Maximizing these benefits and others, require you know how to calculate target heart rate.

By calculating target heart rate and aiming for it, you are also able to monitor the intensity of your workout thereby avoiding guess work.


One advantage of this little calculation exercise is that you confine your workout within a safe and comfortable heart rate zone or pulse rate zone. Besides, it is important you maintain your pulse rate through out your period of physical exercise to realize the potential benefits.

Don’t worry, the target heart rate calculation formula is very simple to use!


Step 1
You need to know how to calculate maximum heart rate first and this is the formula below:


Maximum Heart Rate = 220 minus your age


So if say you are 30 years of age, your maximum heart rate will be 220 – 30 = 190


Step 2
You determine what your objective is, because the target zones vary depending on what your training needs are, even for the same individual

Here is what I mean.


Target heart rate for fat burning or general health >>>> 60 – 70% of your maximum heart rate

Target heart rate for Fitness or body shaping >>>> 70 – 80% of your max. heart rate

Target heart rate for ultimate cardio performance and athletism >>>> 80 – 90% max. heart rate (this is for athletes)


To continue with our example above i.e the 30-year-old

We already know his max heart rate is 190.

If he/she were to have the objective of body shaping or fitness, then

70% of 190 = 133
80% of 190 = 152

Therefore the target heart rate for fitness or body shaping for this individual will be between 133 and 152.


Warning: Always consult your doctor before undertaking any physical exercise that challenges your heart.


It also helps to know how to feel and count your pulse if you are keen to learn how to calculate target heart rate - a very valuable skill to learn, even if you are not in the medical field.


So how do you feel and count your pulse?

Place your index and middle finger on the palm aspect of your wrist joint on the thumb border. Move the 2 fingers along that thumb border over the wrist joint until you start to feel a pulse. This is your radial pulse. Count for one full minute, avoiding distractions and this will be your pulse rate per minute.


Another technique is to place the middle finger and index finger to feel for the carotid pulse. This is a lot more technical but the carotid artery can be felt below the jawline between the windpipe and the muscle that tenses up when you turn your neck sideways.

Place those fingers where that muscle meets the windpipe and your carotid pulse will be heaving there, then count for 1 minute to get your pulse rate per minute.


Too much hassle counting your heart rate?

Don’t worry!
Most modern machines come with fitted sensors anyway, so when you are exercising, you can tell your heart rate on the machine computer screen.

However you need to place your hands carefully over the sensors to allow accurate computing of your exercise heart rate. All you then need to do is adjust your workout intensity to meet your already calculated target heart rate.


However, there are situations where you do not have the benefit of having an exercise equipment in front of you for instance when you are outdoors running, brisk walking, ballroom dancing or simply cycling etc.


These are instances where you will need to get yourself heart rate monitors like the polar heart rate monitor (Polar FS2C Heart Rate Monitors, Black ). These monitors automatically compute your workout pulse rate for you as you get on with the business of exercise.


One crude way of telling if you are in the right heart rate zone is that an exercise workout should be tough enough to impair your ability to sing during a workout but soft enough to allow you to talk.


Now you know how to calculate target heart rate, you may wish to learn more about calories burned during exercise


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