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Aerobic Exercise (cont.)

How do I calculate my target heart rate?

You can use the cue "warm and slightly out of breath" to gauge your aerobic activity, or you can get more precise and use heart rate. I recommend the heart rate reserve method for calculating a target heart rate. The formula and an example of the method for someone 27 years old, assuming a resting heart rate of 70 beats per minute (bpm), and a training range of 70%, may be found below. Aerobic exercise falls in the range from 40% to 85%. You can plug in your own values to find your aerobic range.

Here's the heart rate reserve formula:

  • 220-Age = Max HR
  • Subtract resting heart rate from Max HR = Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)
  • Multiply HRR times percent at which you want to train
  • Add back resting heart rate

Assuming a resting heart rate of 70 bpm, 27 years old, and 70% training range:

  • 220 - 27 = 193
  • 193 - 70 = 123
  • 123 x .70% = 86
  • 86 + 70 = 156
  • So this 27-year-old exerciser will try to maintain an hear rate of 156 beats per minute while doing aerobic exercise.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2016

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