Staying on Target With Your Heart Rate

When it comes to aerobic exercise, you need to make sure that you get your heart just the right amount of activity. While many people think they need to push themselves to the limit, the reality is that you will do your heart a favor by staying within your target heart rate.

Target heart rate is the rate your heart has to beat to perform between 60-80% of its maximum capacity. Going above 80% can put too much strain on your heart and cause you to go into an aerobic activity. Exercising below 60% will not provide your heart with the benefits of aerobic activity.

So how do you calculate your target heart rate? With a few of your basic math skills, you can calculate it quickly. 

Start with the number 220 and subtract your age (220-your age = x). For our purposes, we’re going to use the example of a 30-year-old. So 220-30 = 190. But we’re not done yet!

Now take the result of that first step and multiply it by .6. This will give you a lower limit of your target heart rate. 

For our 30 year old, the calculation would be: 190 x .6 = 114. If you were to get a remainder, you can just round. We can’t measure a fraction of a beat. 

For the next step, you need to take the original number you calculated and multiply it by .8. For example: 190 x .8 = 152. That gives you the upper limit of your target heart rate.  

So, if you were 30 years old, your target heart rate would be between 114 and 152 beats per minute. You can use this calculation to make sure you’re staying in the right zone during your exercise. It’s a good idea to take your pulse every ten minutes are so. If your pulse falls below your target range, you can step up your exercise. If it’s too high, you can slow down.

The activity will take for you to stay in your target heart rate zone will depend on your body. For some people, a brisk walk can do this. For other people, it takes jogging or running to increase the heart rate this much.  

And still, for others, any type of movement will get the heart rate up. And as your fitness level improves, you’ll find that you have to work harder to keep your heart within the range.

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