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.
How do you figure out your target heart rate? How long do I need to work out after reaching it? What is a target heart rate?
Target Heart Rate 101
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 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age.
What’s Your Target Heart Rate?
There is a basic formula that applies to the average population (and is actually pretty accurate). Let’s use a 20-year-old as an easy-to-calculate example:
Calculate your maximum heart rate: 220 – age = MAX heart rate (example: 220 – 20 = 200)
Calculate 60%-80% of this max: 200 x .6 = 120 beats per min and 200 x .8 = 160 beats per min