Science Fit

Finding Your Target Heart Rate

By June 26, 2018 No Comments

What is Target Heart Rate and how may I use it to get the most out of my exercise regiment?

Anyone who can find their pulse can use Target Heart Rate to increase the effectiveness of their exercise regiment. Target Heart Rate is an accurate measurement of intensity.

Target Heart Rate Explained

Target Heart Rate is a quantification of intensity, much like calories burned are a measurement of energy used. Often, athletes rate their workout by “the burn,” a prolonged uncomfortable feeling in the muscles, debatably caused by a surplus of Hydrogen ions, however “the burn” isn’t an effective measurement of a workout.

Target Heart Rate is divided into five zones or intensities. The zones range from 40-100 percent of maximum heart rate. For example, a practitioner of Tai Chi will remain in zone one, between 40-50 percent of maximum heart rate. Maximum heart rate is the most stress the heart can safely handle before approaching cardiac arrest.

The most intense exercise is Aerobic, Aerobic exercise forces Oxygen through the body and improves VO2 score. This intense exercise is achieved around 90 percent of maximum heart rate. Next down the intensity totem is Cardio. Cardio is a heart-pumping workout that prolongs life by pushing the body’s core. Cardio is achieved around 70 percent of maximum heart rate. Less intense forms of exercise are typically body-building. Body-building tones the body, creating that sought-after Greco-Roman aesthetic. This can be achieved with a lower Target Heart Rate.

It’s important never to exceed maximum heart rate. Overexerting the heart is a risk to your health. According to, exceeding maximum heart rate may lead to muscular-skeletal injury. Additionally, over-exercising may cause a weaker body, fatigue and decreased performance. Maximum heart rate may be found by simply subtract your age from 220.

Calculations for Healthy Living

It’s important to set a heart rate goal. The Mayo Clinic states that a healthy exercise regiment includes 150 minutes of Cardio a week. A combination of Cardio and body-building strengthens the core and tones.

To calculate Target Heart Rate, you must first find your resting heart rate. Resting heart rate is most successfully taken in the morning. Once you find your resting heart rate, it’s a simple calculation to find Target Heart Rate for Cardio exercise, within 60-70 percent of maximum heart rate:

  • Maximum heart rate – Morning Resting Heart
  • Rate (0.6) + Morning Resting Heart Rate

Once you’re comfortable with the low spectrum of Cardio, you may desire greater intensity and approach the Aerobic zone:

  • Maximum heart rate – Morning Resting Heart
  • Rate (0.8) + Morning Resting Heart Rate

This is an intense workout, it’s within 70-80 percent of maximum heart rate.


Including both Cardio and less intense exercise make for a strong body and healthy living. Using the included formulas will push your exercise regiment to around 80 percent of maximum heart rate. Be sure to take your heart rate often, and avoid over-exercising.

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