Calculate your target heart rate
Use the target heart rate calculator to find your heart rate zone during physical activity.
It is recommended that you know your ideal heart rate zone and aim for this area for optimal performance and health. The ideal heart rate can vary from person to person due to various factors.
Read on to learn more about this handy heart rate tool.
Why is your target heart rate important?
The intensity with which you do any physical activity is an important part of getting in shape, meeting your performance goals, or getting exercise in general.
Johns Hopkins Cardiologist Seth Martin, MD, MPH perfectly defined the target heart rate zone in simple terms … “Think of it as the “sweet spot” between too little training and overexertion.
Aiming at a specific heart rate zone has the following advantages:
Improve cardiovascular endurance and general fitness
To build your cardio fitness, especially if you want to get better at one or more faster activity, you need to increase the intensity and maintain it for the required duration.
Conditioning comes from building the heart and gradually increasing its activity.
“A higher heart rate is a good thing that leads to better fitness,” says cardiologist Johns Hopkins Michael Blaha, MD, MPH
Your goals, what you want to achieve, or the effort you are ready to make all play a role in how you approach your activities.
Remember, however, that as with anything, if you want to get better at something, you need to be consistent and approach your activities based on your specific goals, also called specificity.
Not everyone is interested in super intense workouts. For some, a short and easy jog, quick walking, or maybe even jumping rope is more attractive.
Each activity has a specific intensity level, and you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your exertion by monitoring and maintaining your heart rate.
Prevent your heart from becoming overloaded
When it comes to physical fitness, not everyone is on the same level. In other words, you won’t be able to run as far as a long-distance runner in the same amount of time if you don’t train for it.
But then there are things like medical conditions that prevent some people from doing very intense activities or exercises / workouts.
For this reason, it is a good idea to have an idea of your optimal heart rate range and aim for performance within that range.
Burn calories and lose fat
While we burn calories just by breathing and doing normal day-to-day tasks, if your goal is to lose several pounds in a reasonable time frame, exercising at reasonable intensity will speed up the process dramatically.
Of course, you could just eat fewer calories and not exercise to lose weight, but then you won’t get the benefits of exercise.
If you exercise your body at a reasonable intensity and keep doing it as part of a normal routine, you can burn more calories after your workout, also known as excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC).
In addition, activity helps fight off disease and keep your body healthier, which is an important part of weight management.
Really, there are many benefits to being active.
Resting heart rate
Before you can calculate your target heart rate, you must first know your resting heart rate, or the number of heartbeats per minute when your body is at rest.
The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate on average because your warmth doesn’t have to work as hard.
But other factors such as age, medication, etc. can also influence the resting heart rate.
If you are unsure how to measure your heart rate, don’t worry, it’s simple. There are several ways to check your heart rate.
Here are the various common methods of measuring your pulse or heart rate:
- Place your index and middle fingers on the inside of your opposite wrist against the radial artery and count the number of pulses per minute.
- Place your index and middle fingers on your neck against the carotid artery and count the number of pulses per minute.
- Use a heart rate monitor / device or fitness tracker.
- Use RPE (Perceived Exertion Rate) to gauge how you are feeling based on your intensity during physical activity.
To take your pulse in the radial artery:
When using the index and middle fingers of the left hand on the right wrist
- Place the tips of your index and middle fingers just below the wrist crease on the right side of the forearm tendon.
Count the number of pulses in a minute and that is your resting heart rate.
When using the index and middle fingers of the right hand on the left wrist
- Place the tips of your index and middle fingers just below the wrist crease on the left side of the forearm tendon.
Count the number of pulses in a minute and that is your resting heart rate.
How to Use the Target Heart Rate Calculator
Using this handy tool is very easy. For the most accurate calculation possible, however, you first need to know your resting heart rate.
Here are the steps to use the calculator.
- Determine your resting heart rate as mentioned earlier and then enter the result.
- Please indicate your age
- Calculate hits
Now is the time to evaluate your results and explain how the calculator works.
The target heart rate calculator estimates two things: maximum heart rate and intensity – target heart rate. These values are displayed after you have clicked on Calculate.
Maximum heart rate is defined as the maximum number of beats your heart can beat during physical activity.
To find your maximum heart rate using the traditional method (also the calculator method), subtract your age from 220.
For example, let’s say you are 29 years old. You subtract 29 from 220.
220-69 = 191
Your maximum heart rate is 191.
Intensity – target heart rate is an estimate of the target heart rate range expressed as a percentage of your maximum heart rate (e.g. 50-55%, 60-65%, 70-75%, 80-85%).
The calculator uses the Karvonen or Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) formula to find the target heart rate zone.
Karvonen formula = maximum heart rate – resting heart rate x intensity level in percent + resting heart rate.
First you need to find HRR. To do this, subtract the resting heart rate from the maximum heart rate.
So, using the same example from earlier, take 191 (maximum heart rate) and subtract 68 (resting heart rate).
191-68 = 123
Her HRR is 123.
The Karvonen formula takes the HRR and multiplies it by a percentage range of physical activity intensity. So let’s take the lower end of the 50-55% intensity as an example.
123 (HRR) x 50% or 0.50 (intensity) = 61.5
The final step is to add the resting heart rate.
61.5 + 68 – 129.5 beats per minute (bpm)
Using the example of a 29-year-old with a maximum heart rate of 191, the target heart rate at 50% intensity is 129.5 beats per minute.
What are the best activities to get your heart rate up?
While physical activity is a very preference-based category, we can certainly recommend workouts and methods that will get your heart pumping.
Here is a list of great activity options, with lots of great information and pre-planned workouts to try.
This helpful guide will also teach you how to structure your own training.
Well there you have it! By keeping track of your heart rate during physical activity, you ensure that your efforts are not in vain.
While the heart rate calculator will help you find your target heart rate zone, fitness trackers or heart rate monitors are great tools for making sure your heart rate is in the ideal range.
For results, you should exercise consistently and at a reasonable intensity. You don’t want to be doing too little, but you also want to be sure that you are not trying too hard as it is unhealthy.
We hope you found this calculator and information useful for your active lifestyle!