Target Heart Rates

March 7, 2019 / / 3-in-1 program, Behavior changes

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.


Author: Dr. Becky

Dr. Becky is a board-certified Obesity and Gynecology physician with over 30 years’ experience providing support and guidance for her patients.

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