Determine Your Target Heart Rate

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard that you should be exercising within a target heart rate, yet you don’t know what that number should be.  Or, maybe you’re relying on a heart rate device that is using an outdated formula to calculate target heart rate.  This may mean that you might be working too hard when you exercise.  To dispel the confusion, here’s how to calculate your target heart rate for exercise:

Multiply your age by 88% (0.88).  Subtract that number from 206.  Your target heart rate should be within 65 to 85 percent of that number.

So, here’s how it would work for a 40-year old person:

40 multiplied by 0.88=35.2


170.8 multiplied by 0.65= 111.02 (the low end of the target heart rate range)

170.8 multiplied by 0.85=145.18 (the upper end of the target heart rate range)

So a 40-year old’s target heart rate would be 111 to 145.  If you have any health conditions you should check with your physician before beginning an exercise regime.  The target heart rate should always be considered an estimated goal.

For more on fitness:
Is Walking Barefoot Healthier?

9 Ways Exercise Gets Better as You Go
Yoga Can Save Your Feet?

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, PhD.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Heather M
Heather Marv2 years ago

I wonder how they work out the maths? That is how they work out the calculations with relation to a persons age?

Shanti S.
S S.2 years ago

Thank you.

Robert O.
Robert O.2 years ago

Thanks Michelle.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago


Carmen Bouwhuis Jansen

O o i have to learn a lot !

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago


Ncl L.
Ncl L.4 years ago


Elise Harrington
Elise Harrington4 years ago

Woah, I'm sorry, but if my heart rate is anywhere near 161bmp, I think it would explode. (I'm 18.)

This math doesn't work out at all.

Susan S.
Susan S.4 years ago

One thing I have heard is that the fitter you are the faster your heart rate returns to normal after exercise.