Target Heart Rate

Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise is any exercise that engages a large amount of muscle mass at a sub-maximal intensity for an extended period of time (usually 20-60 minutes).

For optimal results and an efficient use of your exercise time, it is crucial that you exercise at the proper intensity during your cardiovascular workouts. One method for determining proper exercise intensity is to monitor your heart rate and to keep that heart rate within a specified zone, or range.

At Health Unlimited, we design cardiovascular exercise programs based on 3 different levels of intensity. These levels of exercise are prescribed based on your primary goals. These levels are outlined below:

Level 1 – Recovery

  • Long duration, easy intensity, 30-60 minutes, approx. 60-70% maxHR

Level 2 – Endurance

  • Moderate duration, moderate intensity, 30-45 minutes, approx. 70-80% maxHR

Level 3 – Cardio Fitness

  • Short duration, high intensity, 15-30 minutes, approx. 80-90% maxHR

It is important that you incorporate a mixture of these levels in your workouts to avoid over-training and to maximize results. Use the information and calculator below to figure out your Target Heart Rate.

To estimate your maxHR (maximum heart rate), use the formula 207 – (.7 x your age) = maxHR.

So, for example, a 50-yr old would have an estimated maximum heart rate of 207 – (.7 x 50) = 172.

Level 1, then, would be 103 – 120

Level 2 would be 121 – 137

Level 3 would be 138 – 155

(Women tend to have slightly higher heart rates; a 50-yr old woman could possibly have a maxHR 5-10 beats higher than that of a man.)

Goal Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
General Fitness 1x/wk 1-2x/wk 1x/wk
Endurance 1x/wk 2-3x/wk 1x/wk
Cardio Fitness/Performance 1-2x/wk 1x/wk 1-2x/wk