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April 8, 2008

Target Heart Rate Calculator

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stethoscope

Photo Credit: Chad McDermott

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Target Heart Rate Calculator
Your age:
While you are exercising...
You should count between:
and beats in
seconds and it should
not exceed beats.


When you exercise, your body speeds up, and so does your heart as it works to meet your increased energy needs. But how much speeding-up of your heart is safe when you exercise? You need the answer to this question in order to maximize your exercise benefits while not overworking your heart.

Your target heart rate isn't one rate but a range of rates (beats per minute, or bpm), expressed as percentages of your maximum heart rate, that are safe for you to reach during exercise. For most healthy people, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise target heart rate ranging from 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age.

Now that you know your target heart rate, check your bpm (take your pulse) regularly as you exercise. An easy way to do this is to count your heartbeats (pulse) for 10 seconds using your watch, and then multiply this number by 6 to get your bpm. You can feel your heartbeats in several ways, such as by placing your fingers lightly but firmly over the inside of your wrist or on your neck just below the angle of your jaw. (Be careful not to put too much pressure on the neck; this can slow the heart down and can be dangerous in people with blockages of blood vessels in the neck.) You can also place your palm over your heart and count the number of beats that you feel.

Caution: If you have any questions or concerns about your exercise regimen, including your target heart rate, consult your doctor.



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