Target heart rate

The target heart rate is a guideline that can help you stay in a safe exercise heart rate range.

As your age increases, your target heart rate will decrease.

The target heart rate is based on 60 to 80 percent of a maximum heart rate.

  • If you keep your heart rate in the lower range of the guideline, you will be able to exercise longer.
  • If you keep your heart rate in the higher range of the guideline, you will have better cardio-respiratory fitness.

For example: If you are 30 years old and just started an exercise program, your target heart rate would be between 114 and 133 beats per minute, and 19 to 22 beats per 10 second count.

Target heart rate maximum - Target training zones

 

Approximate maximum heart rate

Maximum target training zones (beats per minute)

Age Heart rate 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85%
20 200 120 130 140 150 160 170
25 195 117 127 137 146 156 166
30 190 114 124 133 143 152 162
35 185 111 120 130 139 148 157
40 180 108 117 126 135 144 153
45 175 105 114 123 131 140 149
50 170 102 111 119 128 136 145
55 165 99 107 116 124 132 140
60 160 96 104 112 120 128 136
65 155 93 101 109 116 124 132
70 150 90 98 105 113 120 128
75 145 87 94 102 109 116 123
80 140 84 91 98 105 112 119
 

It is important to exercise at a safe and effective training level. There are three ways to check that you are working at the right level for you.

how to take your pulse

Check your heart rate.

To do this:

-Find your pulse on your wrist. (See illustration.)

-Put two fingers on the inside of your wrist just below your thumb. (See illustration.)

-Press lightly until you feel your pulse.

-Count the heartbeats for 10 seconds. Multiply the heartbeats by six.

-If your pulse is irregular or skips beats, count the beats for a full 60 seconds.

-The average resting rate is between 60 to 100 beats each minute.

-If your rate is higher than average, slow down and don't exercise so hard.

Do the "talk test." This is your ability to have a fairly normal conversation while exercising. If you can sing, you need to work a little harder. If you have trouble talking, you need to slow down.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Prediabetes: Reducing Type 2 Diabetes Risk Through a Lifestyle of Good Nutrition and Activity, first edition, dia-ah-94403
Reviewed By: Allina Health Patient Education
First Published: 04/02/2009
Last Reviewed: 01/28/2019

Tip

If you are just starting an exercise routine, you may want to start out at 60 to 70 percent of your target heart rate.

As you become more fit, you may want to progress to 70 to 80 percent of your target heart rate.