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Target Heartrate Zone

Before you try to determine your target heartrate zone from the chart near the bottom of this page, you should first learn the following concepts...

  • Resting Heartrate
  • Maximum Heartrate
  • Heartrate Reserve



 Resting heart rate (Resting HR) is the number of beats in one minute when you are at complete rest.

Your resting heart rate indicates your basic fitness level. The more well-conditioned your body, the less effort and fewer beats per minute it takes your heart to pump blood to your body at rest.


Immediately after awakening and before you get out of bed, measure your heart rate using your heart rate monitor or by palpating pulse from artery, counting the beats for 15 seconds and multiplying by four. You can sleep with your heart rate monitor on and in the morning read it first thing. Be aware of, if your bladder is full in the morning, you didn't sleep well, or you're feeling stressed, you might have a slightly elevated resting heart rate.

Take these measurements for the five consecutive days and average them. This average is your actual resting heart rate. Resting heart rate is dependent on your life habits and a number of factors such as quality of sleep, stress level, and eating habits.


  Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR) is the highest number of times your heart can contract in one minute.

Max HR is the most useful tool to be used in determining training intensities, because it can be individually measured or predicted.


You can define your maximum heart rate by

1) having it measured in an exercise test
2) using age-predicted maximum heart rates formulas.


The most accurate way of determine your individual maximum heart rate is to have it clinically tested (usually by treadmill stress testing) by a cardiologist or exercise physiologist. You can also measure it in field conditions supervised by an experienced coach. If you are over the age of 35, overweight, have been sedentary for several years, or have a history of heart disease in your family, clinical testing is recommended.


There is a mathematical formula that allows you to predict your Max HR with some accuracy. It is called the "age-adjusted formula". The age-adjusted Max HR formula can come in very handy when you're not prepared to pay for the physician-supervised stress test.

WOMEN: 226-your age = age-adjusted Max HR
MEN: 220-your age = age-adjusted Max HR

If you are a 30 years old woman, your age-adjusted maximum heart rate is

226- 30 years = 196 bpm (beats per minute).
These formulas apply only to adults. The generally accepted error in age-predicted formulas is + - 10-15 beats per minute, which is due to different inherited characteristics and exercise training.

You should remember that there may be some discrepancy when using age-adjusted formula, especially for people who have been fit for many years or older people. The formula will give you a ballpark estimate to work from, but if you want to exercise/train at your most effective levels, your Max HR should be measured.


  Heart Rate Reserve is the difference between your Maximum Heart Rate and your Resting Heart Rate.

If your maximum heart rate is 196 bpm (beats per minute) and your resting heart rate 63 bpm, your heart rate reserve is

196 bpm - 63 bpm = 133 bpm.
The greater the difference, the larger your heart rate reserve is and the greater your range of training heart rate intensities can be.


Target heart rate zones...


Target: Moderate Activity and Weight Management
Duration: 30 min - 1h (even up to 2 hrs)
Frequency: 3-5 times a week (even daily)
Target group: beginners, sedentary, overweight, rehabilitators

To achieve this target, exercise is easy-paced and cause only slight breathlessness and sweating. Choose this target if your goal is to improve overall wellness and cardiovascular health.

Target: Improved Fitness and Increased Performance
Duration: 30 min - 1h (even up to 2 hrs)
Frequency: 3-5 times a week (even daily)
Target group: Persons who are already exercising and have no health problems.

To achieve this target, exercise is intermediate or heavy paced and it causes clear breathlessness and sweating. Choose this target if your goal is to increase your endurance capacity and fitness performance.


The following Target Range Chart helps you to keep yourself in the right Target Zone.

How to find the right Target Zone?

  1. Locate your age.
  2. Locate the target, which you just determined. Each target is shaded differently.
  3. Read up from your age to the target you chose.
  4. Draw a straight line from the upper edge of the target to left and you find the Upper Limit of your Target Zone.
  5. Then draw another straight line from the lower edge of the target to left and you find the Lower Limit for your Target Zone.
  6. You have now found your Target Zone. As you exercise, make sure that your heart rate stays within the Target Zone (between the Lower Limit and Upper Limit) you selected to get maximum benefit of your workout.

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