Almost all training is good. But to make sure you get the most out of your workout while staying at a level that is safe for you, you can monitor how hard your heart is working. Learn more about healthy heart rate for exercise
What is the target heart rate?
Your target heart rate is a series of numbers that reflect how fast your heart should beat when you exercise. A higher heart rate may lead to better fitness. During exercise, you can monitor your heart rate and try to reach this target zone. A target heart rate is typical to interpret the results of a cardiac stress test.
How to find your target heart rate
First of all, it helps to know your resting heart rate. Find your heart rate (inside your wrist or on your left or right side of the neck). Count the beats in a minute – that’s your resting heart rate. The average resting heart rate is between 50 and 100. The better you are in shape, the lower your resting heart rate.
Target heart rate is usually expressed as a percentage (usually between 50 percent and 85 percent) of your maximum safe heart rate. The maximum frequency is based on your age, subtracted from 220. So for a 50-year-old, the maximum heart rate is 220 minus 50, or 170 beats per minute. At an effort level of 50 percent, your goal will be 50 percent of the maximum or 85 beats per minute. At an effort level of 85 percent, your goal will be 145 beats per minute.
An easier way to find your heart rate is to use a fitness device or work out on a treadmill or other machine that calculates your target heart rate.
Heart rate tips to keep in mind
- It’s best to move before you get too worried about your heart rate. Start with the beginning. If you have not exercised much before, start where you are comfortable (about 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Then, gradually exert yourself more over time.
- Your body provides other indicators of working hard that you need to consider and your heart rate. Devices that record your heart rate, for example, have been known to malfunction – another reason to listen to your body is essential. Pay attention to how hard you breathe or sweat, and stop if you feel uncomfortable.
- Remember that the target heart rate is only a guide. Do not get too fixated on numbers.