Target Heart Rate

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I have seen so many different calculations for Target Heart Rate that I really don’t know what’s true anymore. For years, it was always:

220-Your Age=Target Heart Rate

I vaguely remember a heart rate that took into account your current weight. I saw another one that used your BMI. I remember another one that had a different rate for women than men. I remember another one that took into account your fitness level. I’ve read about others that take into account your resting heart rate. There are now so many potential calculations for your Target Heart Rate that I can understand if you might be tempted to just forget about it.

One day, I decided that they all were bogus…

It doesn’t really matter which calculation you use to determine your Target Heart Rate. Humans like to measure things. From the day we were able to place our fingers on our wrist and feel a pulse, we have been counting. Now that Heart Rate Monitors are available, we are able to measure our heart rates better than we ever could with those two fingers. We can measure that heart rate and keep on running. We have a precise number on our watch or the cardio machine display telling us exactly how fast our hearts are beating.

The gadget freak in me says, “Cool…” I’ve owned a heart rate monitor for years (replaced the batteries twice). I keep close tabs on where my heart rate is compared to where is “should” be. The problem that I ran into was how many different “shoulds” there were.

One day, I calculated them all. Every different calculation that I had seen, I used. You know what I found out? They are all so similar that you really don’t need to worry. Statistically, they are so close to each other that there is no reason to use the complicated formulas. The only reason we can tell the difference between 128 BPM and 133 BPM is because we have those fancy heart rate monitors. If we were trying to count the beats on our wrists, they would count out very close to each other.

It doesn’t really matter which calculation you use to determine your Target Heart Rate. The important thing is that you consistently exercise at least thirty minutes a day at a vigorous level. It doesn’t matter whether that level is 128 BPM or 133 BPM. Just choose one and stick with it. The most important thing is that you get out there and do it every day.

P.S. If you really want to obsess over your Target Heart Rate, here is a website that will calculate it for you. The good thing about this site is that you get to choose the formula.

Target Heart Rate Calculator from Stevens Creek Software


2 Responses to “Target Heart Rate”

  1. Mara Says:

    220-your age is the calculation for maximum heart rate, not your target heart rate.

  2. Teri Says:

    Mara is right. 220 minus your age is your maximum rate. But, how do I figure my target rate?

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