Target Heart Rates
The current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week to reduce the risk of chronic disease. But how high should the rate be, you may ask? This is where getting to your target heart rate helps you to know if you are working hard enough, but not too hard.
First calculate your resting heart rate by counting your heart rate before you get out of bed in the morning.
The National Institute of Health says adults, including seniors, should have an average resting heart rate between 60 – 100 beats per minute. Well-trained athletes between 40 – 60 bpm.
To determine your target training heart rate. Periodically, as you exercise:
- Check your pulse on the thumb side of your wrist
- Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. Try to keep your heart rate between 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is your target heart rate. As a general guideline, your maximum heart rate should be around 220 minus your age.
- Know Your Numbers
Using the chart below find the target heart rate in the age category closest to yours. During moderate intensity activities your heart rate should be about 50-69% of your maximum heart rate, whereas the heart rate during vigorous physical activity is about 70% to less than 90% of the maximum heart rate.
|Age||Target HR Zone 50-85%||Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%|
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute||200 beats per minute|
|30 years||95-162 beats per minute||190 beats per minute|
|35 years||93-157 beats per minute||185 beats per minute|
|40 years||90-153 beats per minute||180 beats per minute|
|45 years||88-149 beats per minute||175 beats per minute|
|50 years||85-145 beats per minute||170 beats per minute|
|55 years||83-140 beats per minute||165 beats per minute|
|60 years||80-136 beats per minute||160 beats per minute|
|65 years||78-132 beats per minute||155 beats per minute|
|70 years||75-128 beats per minute||150 beats per minute|
Start out slowly by aiming for the lower range of your target zone and gradually build up to a higher range. But, please don’t start an exercise program until you have consulted your health care provider.