Target Heart Rate Calculator

Estimating Target Heart Rates in Beats per Minute

This calculator can help users estimate their maximum and target heart rate as it varies with the intensity of exercise. While the calculator can use a measured maximum heart rate, it can also estimate this value using the Karvonen Equation. The calculator requires three inputs:

  • The user’s age, stated in years
  • The user’s measured maximum heart rate, stated in beats per minute (optional)
  • The user’s resting heart rate, or HRR
  • The intensity of the exercise with the options of very light, light, moderate, hard, and very hard

Using this information, the calculator then provides the user with the following:

  • An estimate of their maximum heart rate
  • The method used to predict this heart rate (age or measured)
  • The intensity level selected as an input
  • The percentage of maximum (range of values) at the selected intensity level
  • The target heart rate (range of values) stated in beats per minute

Note: It is possible to exceed the estimated maximum heart rate without ill effects if you do not have coronary disease or are at risk of experiencing a heart attack. Sore joints and muscle aches and pains can occur anytime exercise is conducted above 85% of the maximum heart rate.

What is a Maximum Heart Rate or Target Heart Rates?

The highest number of beats per minute (bpm) that someone’s heart can reach during intense exercise is their maximum heart rate. People will monitor their heart rate when they are trying to achieve a given heart rate based training zone. The most commonly used method to estimate this value is by subtracting your age from 220. For example, a 20-year-old would have a theoretical maximum heart rate of 220 – 20, or 200 bpm, while a 60-year-old would have a maximum of 220 – 60, or 160 bpm. Keep in mind all these calculations are estimates. There are several factors that will influence someone’s maximum heart rate such as fitness level as well as genetics.

The calculator allows the user to match a level of intensity with a target range of heartbeat rate. Generally, moderate levels of exercise are those associated with the objective of burning fat. As the intensity increases to hard and very hard, the objective would be to improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance to high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Please note that all this information represents general guidelines and anyone considering adopting a new exercise program should first consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate training intensity and heart rate targets.

Tracking Your Heart Rate

It is widely accepted that heart rate is a useful indicator of cardiovascular fitness. Tracking your heart rate during exercise will enable you to assess your fitness level and understand how it changes over time. For example, lower heart rates and faster recovery rates are oftentimes associated with higher levels of cardiovascular fitness. Monitoring can also help you understand how hard your body is working. By staying within your target heart rate, you can be sure that you’re exercising at the appropriate level of intensity. This allows you to achieve your workout objective of burning fat, increasing aerobic endurance or anaerobic performance.

Monitoring your heart rate also allows you to exercise more safely, reducing the risk of exercising at an excessively high rate. It’s not always advisable to push too hard when working out since adverse events can occur. Finally, monitoring your heart rate during exercise can provide important feedback on performance as well as provide much needed motivation to continue working.

Interpreting the Results of Our Calculator

The calculator provides the user with five estimates associated with target heart rates:

  • Max: This is either the measured or estimated maximum heart rate. Estimates are based on both age and resting heart rate
  • Using: Indicates whether the Max value is based on measured information or an estimate using age
  • Intensity: This value is provided for convenience and reflects the value selected earlier by the user
  • % of Maximum: This value is based on the intensity level selected and indicates the range of heart rates as a percentage of the maximum value
  • Rate: This value is the range of heart beats per minute based on the maximum value and intensity level selected