Target heart rate and estimated maximum heart rate
One way of monitoring physical activity intensity is to determine whether a person’s
pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.
For moderate-intensity physical activity, a person’s target heart rate should be 50%
to 70% of his or her age-related maximum heart rate. Although the science underlying
calculation of maximum heart rate is not strong, this maximum is commonly
estimated based on the person’s age using the following formula: subtracting the
person’s age from 220.
For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum
age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 – 50 years = 170 beats per
minute (bpm). The 50% and 70% levels would be:
50% level: 170 x 0.50 = 85 bpm, and
70% level: 170 x 0.70 = 119 bpm
Thus, moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that
the heart rate remains between 85 and 119 bpm during physical activity.
For vigorous-intensity physical activity, a person’s target heart rate should be 70%
to 85% of his or her maximum heart rate.
For example, for a 35-year-old person,
the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 – 35 years
= 185 beats per minute (bpm). The 70% and 85% levels would be:
70% level: 185 x 0.70 = 130 bpm, and
85% level: 185 x 0.85 = 157 bpm
Thus, vigorous-intensity physical activity for a 35-year-old person will require that
the heart rate remains between 130 and 157 bpm during physical activity.
Below are examples of Different Aerobic Physical Activities and Intensities
• Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
• Water aerobics
• Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
• Tennis (doubles)
• Ballroom dancing
• General gardening
• Racewalking, jogging, or running
• Swimming laps
• Tennis (singles)
• Aerobic dancing
• Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
• Jumping rope
• Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing, with heart rate increases)
• Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.