How to Calculate Target Heart Rate

Learn to calculate target heart rate zone in a matter of seconds! The formula provided below will help you determine your optimal pulse rate while exercising. 

If you want to burn more calories and fat, strengthen your heart and lungs and lose weight, your pulse rate must reach 60 to 80% of its maximum. This number depends on your age and will give you a personalized goal for your pulse rate while working out to achieve fat burning and cardiovascular benefits.

Calculate Target Heart Rate in Three Easy Steps

1. Subtract your age from 220. This will give you your maximum heart rate in beats per minute.

2. Multiply that number by .60 to get 60 percent of your maximum heart rate and then by .80 to get 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.

3. This range will give you your target heart rate zone. For example, Jenny is 30 years old. To determine her maximum heart rate we will:

  • Subtract 30 from 220, which gives us 190.
  • Multiply 190 x .60, which equals 114.
  •  Multiply 190 x .80, which gives us 152.
  • While walking, Jenny should ensure that her heart rate is between 114 and 152 beats per minute.

Check your pulse several times throughout your walk to be sure you are staying within the zone. Beginner walkers should stay close to the lower range of the target heart rate zone until they feel comfortable and ready for a more intense walk.

How to Take Your Pulse

Now that you can calculate target heart rates, you’ll need to know how to find your pulse. To determine your resting pulse rate, take your pulse in the morning when you are the most relaxed. Sit quietly in a chair. You will notice that your resting pulse rate will get lower as you become more fit.

You can measure your pulse rate anywhere an artery comes close to your skin, but I recommend the following locations:

1. Lightly place two fingers on the inside of your wrist, just below the base of your thumb. Never use your thumb to take your pulse because it has its own pulse. Count the number of beats for 30 seconds and then multiply by 2 to determine the number of beats per minute.

2. Gently place two fingers on your neck, on either side of your windpipe. This is your carotid artery, which carries blood to your head. Do not press too hard as you could restrict the blood flow to your head, which could cause you to become lightheaded or faint. Count the number of beats for 30 seconds and then multiply by 2 to determine the number of beats per minute.

3. Use a heart rate monitor. These are handy devices that you wear while walking to constantly track your heart rate. A transmitter strap is worn around your chest and the signal is sent to a watch on your wrist. You won't even need to stop and take your pulse.

It is easy to calculate target heart rate zones with these easy tips. This information will help you to workout at the level that is perfectly suited for you to burn calories and fat while strengthening your cardiovascular system.

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