Heart Rate And Exercise

Finding your heart rate

  • Find your pulse by placing 1 or 2 fingers (normally your 2nd and 3rd fingers) on the inside of your wrist on the side closest to your thumb or on your carotid artery which is on either side of your neck close to your wind pipe
  • Press firmly until you can feel your pulse.  Do not push too hard so as not to affect the pulse.
  • For 10 seconds count the number of beats you feel.  Multiply this number by 6 to get your heart rate
  • For example if you counted 10 beats in the 10 seconds you would multiply 10×6=60 beats per minute
  • Never check both carotid arteries at once to prevent cutting off blood flow to the brain
  • When you are at rest your heart rate will be lower, when you start exercising your heart rate should increase since your heart has to pump more blood

Target heart rate

  • Take 220-your age to get your max heart rate
    • Multiply your max heart rate by 0.5 to get your heart rate for 50% or low intensity exercise
    • Multiply your max heart rate by 0.7 to get your heart rate for 70% intensity or moderate intensity exercise
    • Multiple your max heart rate by 0.85 to get your heart rate for 85% intensity or vigorous intensity exercise
  • Start with low intensity and progress yourself to more vigorous intensity exercise

Reference: American Heart Association

Target Heart Rate Per Age


Target HR Zone 50-85%

Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%

20 years

100-170 beats per minute

200 beats per minute

30 years

95-162 beats per minute

190 beats per minute

35 years

93-157 beats per minute

185 beats per minute

40 years

90-153 beats per minute

180 beats per minute

45 years

88-149 beats per minute

175 beats per minute

50 years

85-145 beats per minute

170 beats per minute

55 years

83-140 beats per minute

165 beats per minute

60 years

80-136 beats per minute

160 beats per minute

65 years

78-132 beats per minute

155 beats per minute

70 years

75-128 beats per minute

150 beats per minute

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