Reach Your Target Heart Rate to Get the Most from Exercise

Heart Health News

Making exercise part of your daily routine is key to good health. And an important part of getting the most out of your workout is knowing and hitting your target heart rate.

Before finding your target heart rate range, you have to know your resting heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats every minute while you rest, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

The best time to find your resting heart rate is when you wake up, before you get out of bed, after a good night’s sleep, according to the AHA. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that resting heart rates should be:

  • Adults, including seniors – 60 to 100 beats per minute
  • Children 10 and older – 60 to 100 beats per minute
  • Well-trained athletes – 40 to 60 beats per minute

To find your target heart rate, the AHA says you should take your pulse periodically while exercising. Find your beats per minute by counting your pulse for 10 seconds and multiplying it by six. 

The range of your target heart rate should be between 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is about 220 minus your age, according to the AHA. At the following ages, for example:

  • 20 years – target heart rate 100-170 beats per minute; maximum heart rate 200 beats per minute
  • 35 years – target heart rate 93-157 beats per minute; maximum heart rate 185 beats per minute
  • 50 years – target heart rate 85-145 beats per minute; maximum heart rate 170 beats per minute
  • 70 years – target heart rate 75-128 beats per minute; maximum heart rate 150 beats per minute

If you’re new to exercising, you might want to start toward the low end of your target heart rate, according to the AHA. If the heart rate is too low or if your workout seems light, push yourself to exercise harder.

Staying within your target heart rate when you work out means you are getting the most out of your exercise routine, according to the AHA.

If you are taking medication – specifically blood pressure medication – have a heart condition, or are in cardiac rehab, talk with your doctor about your exercise plan and a target heart rate that is right for you.

For more information about target heart rate, talk with your doctor or visit our Cardiology page to find a physician. 

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