How to calculate target heart rate zone?

Key Target Zones

60-70% of maximum heart rate (Zone 1)

weight loss, building endurance

70-80% of maximum heart rate (Zone 2)

weight management, improving cardio fitness

80%+ of maximum heart rate (Zone 3)

interval workouts

You can estimate your heart rate zones based on your age alone or based on both your age and fitness level.  For the latter option you need to measure your resting heart rate three mornings in a row. It is a more personalized number and it is a method recommended for people who are experienced exercisers.

Age based formula

Your estimated maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. In order to get your target heart rate zones you need to do the following calculations:

  • Maximum heart rate * 0.6
  • Maximum heart rate * 0.7
  • Maximum heart rate * 0.8

Your heart rate zones are:

  • Zone 1:  Heart rate between Maximum heart rate * 0.6 and Maximum heart rate * 0.7
  • Zone 2:  Heart rate between Maximum heart rate * 0.7 and Maximum heart rate * 0.8
  • Zone 3:  More than Maximum heart rate * 0.8

Example:

Jimmy is 30 years old and his estimated maximum heart rate is 220-30=190.

  • Maximum heart rate  * 0.6 = 190 * 0.6 =114
  • Maximum heart rate *  0.7 = 190 * 0.7 =133
  • Maximum heart rate * 0.8 = 190 * 0.8 = 152

Jimmy’s heart rate zones:

  • Zone 1:  114 – 133
  • Zone 2:  133 – 152
  • Zone 3: more than 152

Age and fitness level based formula (Karvonen formula)

This formula uses your age and fitness level to determine your target zones. It is a more personalized number and recommended for people who are experienced exercisers. 
First, you must take your heart rate for three mornings in a row before getting up from bed. Once you have those numbers you can calculate their average by summing them and then dividing the sum by 3.

(Morning 1 + Morning 2 + Morning 3)/ 3 = Morning Resting Heart Rate (MRHR)

This is the single best indicator of your state of fitness. Once you have this number established as a baseline, you can use it to understand more about yourself than you can imagine. Take it again every once in a while, at least once every two weeks.
As your fitness improves, you will most likely see that number going down. 

If you see an elevated number, it could mean one or more of the following:

  • You did not recover from a hard workout the day before
  • You need more rest
  • Your body has begun fighting off an oncoming illness

Your estimated maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. In order to get your target heart rate zones you need to do the following calculations:

Heart rate zone

Lower limit

Upper limit

60-70% of maximum heart rate (Zone 1)

(Maximum heart rate - Morning Resting Heart Rate) * 0.6 + Morning Resting Heart Rate

(Maximum heart rate - Morning Resting Heart Rate) * 0.7 + Morning Resting Heart Rate

70-80% of maximum heart rate (Zone 2)

(Maximum heart rate - Morning Resting Heart Rate) * 0.7+ Morning Resting Heart Rate

 

(Maximum heart rate - Morning Resting Heart Rate) * 0.8 + Morning Resting Heart Rate

 

80%+ of maximum heart rate (Zone 3)

(Maximum heart rate - Morning Resting Heart Rate) * 0.8 + Morning Resting Heart Rate

 

 

 

Example:

Mark is 40 years old and his morning resting heart rate is 58. His estimated maximum heart rate is 220-40=180.

Zone 1 lower limit: (180 - 58) * 0.6 + 58 = 131

Zone 1 upper limit: (180 - 58) * 0.7 + 58 = 143

His 60-70% Target Zone would be 131-143




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