Measuring how your heart reacts to exercise

Target Heart Rates

The target heart rate is a guideline which can help you stay in a safe exercise heart rate range. This will help you improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. This means your heart and lungs will become stronger. As your age increases, your target heart rate will decrease.

Learn how to measure your pulse / take your heart rate.

The target heart rate, also known as THR, is based on 60 to 80 percent of a maximum heart rate. To figure your THR, use the table on this page.

  • If you keep your heart rate in the lower range of the guideline, you will be able to exercise longer and have more weight loss benefits.
  • If you keep your heart rate in the higher range of the guideline, you will have better cardiorespiratory fitness.

If you are just starting an exercise routine, you may want to start out at 60 to 70 percent of your THR. As you become more fit, you may want to progress to 70 to 80 percent of your THR.

Learn more about good exercise guidelines.

Certain medicines will lower your heart rate response. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any questions.

Age 60% 65% 70% 75% 80%
20 120 130 140 150 160
21 119 129 139 149 159
22 119 129 139 149 158
23 118 128 138 148 158
24 118 127 137 147 157
25 117 127 137 146 156
26 116 126 136 146 155
27 116 125 135 145 154
28 115 125 134 144 154
29 115 124 134 143 153
30 114 124 133 143 152
31 113 123 132 142 151
32 113 122 132 141 150
33 112 122 131 140 150
34 112 121 130 140 149
35 111 120 130 139 148
36 110 120 129 138 147
37 110 119 128 137 146
38 109 118 127 137 146
39 109 118 127 136 145
40 108 117 126 135 144
41 107 116 125 134 143
42 107 116 125 134 142
43 106 115 124 133 142
44 106 114 123 132 141
45 105 114 123 131 140
46 104 113 122 131 139
47 104 112 121 130 138
48 103 112 120 129 138
49 103 111 120 128 137
50 102 111 119 128 136
51 101 110 118 127 135
52 101 109 118 126 134
53 100 109 117 125 134
54 100 108 116 125 133
55 99 107 116 124 132
56 98 107 115 123 131
57 98 106 114 122 130
58 97 105 113 122 130
59 97 105 113 121 129
60 96 104 112 120 128
61 95 103 111 119 127
62 95 103 111 119 126
63 94 102 110 118 126
64 94 101 109 117 125
65 93 101 109 116 124
66 92 100 108 116 123
67 92 99 107 115 122
68 91 99 107 114 122
69 91 98 106 113 121
70 90 98 105 113 120
71 89 97 104 112 119
72 89 96 104 111 118
73 88 96 103 110 118
74 88 95 102 110 117
75 87 94 102 109 116
76 86 94 101 108 115
77 86 93 100 107 114
78 85 92 99 107
79 85 92 99 106
80 84 91 98 105

Measuring Metabolic Energy Equivalent (MET)

A metabolic energy equivalent (MET)measures how much effort an activity requires from you. 

Try to increase your average MET level during cardiac rehabilitation. 

Gradually increase your resistance and speed to increase your MET level.

See the Metabolic Energy Equivalent chart to see types of activities you can measure.

Learn more about MET exercises you can do:

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, multiple sources
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 07/15/2018