The old motto, “no pain, no gain”, is a myth that has been overpowered by the benefits of exercising comfortably. A great deal of this success has been promoted by the use of heart rate monitors. With the proper use of a heart rate monitor, many people find that their usual choice of exercise intensity was either too high or too low and exercise is much more enjoyable by maintaining their heart rate in the desired benefit range or Target Heart Rate Zone. Read below to find out how to calculate your Target Heart Rate Zone.

To determine the Target Heart Rate Zone in which you wish to train, you must first determine your predicted Maximum Heart Rate. This can be accomplished by using the following formula: 220 minus your age. This will give you the predicted Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) for someone of your age. To determine the effective heart rate range for specific goals you simply calculate a percentage of your MHR. Your heart rate training zone is 50% to 90% of your maximum heart rate. 60% of your MHR is the zone that burns fat, while 80% is for strengthening the cardio vascular system. This 60% to 80% is the zone to stay in for maximum benefit.

For someone who is 40 years old their predicted target heart rate zone is calculated:
220 – 40 = 180 (maximum heart rate)
180 x .6 = 108 beats per minute (60% of maximum)
180 X .8 = 144 beats per minute (80% of maximum)

So for a 40 year old the Target Heart Rate Zone would be 108 to 144 beats per minute.

You can also use the chart below to find your Target Heart Rate for your specific exercise goal:

The black columns on the chart above represent the MHR for a person whose age is listed at the bottom of each column. The training heart rate, for either cardiovascular fitness or weight loss, is represented by two different lines that cut diagonally through the chart. A definition of the lines’ goal is in the bottom left-hand corner of the chart.

The two most popular reasons for, or goals, of exercise are cardiovascular fitness (training for the heart and lungs) and weight control. If your goal is cardiovascular fitness or if it is weight loss, it can be achieved by training at 80% or 60%, respectively, of your MHR on a schedule approved by your physician. Consult your physician before participating in any exercise program.