What is the heart rate and target HR?
Imagine you are hiking in the mountains with your backpack. You feel that this walks requires a tiny bit more effort than when you’re strolling in the city, but it’s not unpleasant. After a while, you start walking up a steep hill. Every step is difficult, you feel the sweat pouring down your face, and your heart begins to race. Once you’ve made it to the top, you breathe slowly and feel your body returning to normal. After a while, your heart slows down, too.
What you experienced was a change in your heart rate. It was highest when you were climbing up (your heart was pounding) and lowest after a short rest. To put it simply, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
Target heart rate (target HR) is the heart rate at which physical effort is the most effective. If it’s too low, then the exercise won’t bring the expected results, such as making you fitter. If it’s too high, it may be dangerous for you.
How to calculate the target heart rate?
- Begin with measuring your heart rate at rest. It’s best to check it in the morning, just after waking up, but before getting out of bed. Put your fingers over your pulse – the best places to measure it are the inside of your wrist, inside of your elbow or the side of your neck. Count the number of beats in 60 seconds. This is your resting heart rate – typically, it should be in between 60 and 100 bpm (beats per minute).
- Once you’ve done that, calculate your maximum heart rate. It is typically found by subtracting your age from 220. This is an extreme you should never cross.
- Subtract your resting heart rate from the maximum heart rate. The result will be your heart rate reserve.
- Now that you know your heart rate reserve, you can begin to calculate the target heart rate range. It is typically assumed that you should exert yourself to 60% – 70% of your heart rate reserve for fat burning. Our calculator uses these values by default; leave them or modify them as you need.
- The lower bound of the target heart rate range is calculated by adding the resting heart rate to the lower percentage of your heart rate reserve.
- The upper bound of the target heart rate range is calculated by adding the resting heart rate to the higher percentage of your heart rate reserve.