Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate
Get Ideal Heart Rate - Fitness Training Zone

Enter your Age, Resting Heart Rate and Maximum Heart Rate
(If Known) then click Calculat

The Heart Rate Calculator above calculates heart rate based on the Karvonen Formula. See the Fitness Training Zones below for a description of the above.


Finding Your Maximum Heart Rate

The first step to knowing the proper zone to exercise or train in is to know your exercise Maximum heart rate (MHR). Your maximum heart rate is the highest possible heart rate you can achieve or the highest number of times your heart can contract in one minute. Once you know your max heart rate, figuring out you heart rate training zones is easy. The most accurate way to measure your max heart rate is to take a max stress test. This is administered from a licensed doctor or sports medicine practitioner. It is always wise to undergo a physical exam before taking a max stress test is you are over the age of 35.

The factors which can influence MHR are genetics and age. Genetics is something we are born with. MHR can vary in individuals as much as 15 beats per minute depending on the person. This means that a 45 year old could have a max heart rate of 160 - 190. With age, heart rate does not change very much. On average about one beat per minute per year. However, if you train consistently over the years your max heart rate may not change all that much.

Without the presence of a max stress test, finding your maximum heart rate can be difficult . However, a formula used by Sally Edwards, an expert and author in heart rate training, uses the following method which we find to be about the most accurate formula method we have found.

210 - 1/2 your age - 1% of your total body weight + 4 = Predicted Maximum Heart Rate

210 - 1/2 your age - 1% of your total body weight + 0 = Predicted Maximum Heart Rate

This means a male of 45 years with a weight of 190 would have an estimated max heart rate of: 

210 - 22.5 - 1.9 + 4 = 189 beats per minute.

In general this formula is fine for most people and is likely to be the most accurate formula within plus or minus 10 beats of the actual maximum heart rate.


Sub- Max Heart Rate Tests


(The following tests should not be performed without first consulting your physician to make sure these can be performed safely.)

You won't reach your Max HR with these tests, but they give you a range within which your Max HR probably lies. First step is to rate your fitness level as follows:

• Poor shape. You have not exercised regularly during the last two months.
• Fair shape. You walk a mile or more or pursue any aerobic activity for twenty minutes at least three times per week.
• Good shape. You exercise regularly more than an hour a week or walk or run at least five miles a week.

The second step is take either or both of these tests.


TEST ONE. One Mile Walk Test

Find a track, PERHAPS at a local school, and walk four continuous, evenly paced laps as fast as you can in your current condition. The first three laps put you on a heart-rate plateau where you hold steady for the fourth lap.

Determine your average heart rate for this final lap. Then to predict your Max HR, add 40 bpm if you are in poor shape; for fair shape, add 50; and for good shape, add 60.


TEST TWO: The Step Test

Use an eight-inch step. Warm up appropriately. Then, use this four count step sequence: right foot up, left up, right down, left down. Counting "up, up, down, down" as one set and keep a steady pace of 20 sets per minute.

Measure your average heart rate during the third minute, then predict your Max HR by adding 55 bpm if you are in poor shape, 65 for fair shape and 75 for good shape. That number is your predicted maximum heart rate


Heart Rate Zones

After you have figured out your approximate max heart rate then it is time to become acquainted with the different heart zones. You can use your heart rate monitor to effectively train in the different zone according to your fitness goals and level of fitness. Before you can exercise in these zones with a heart rate monitor,  you will need to figure out your percentages of max heart rate. The most common way is simple and can be used to estimate your aerobic training zone:

Multiply your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) by the percentage level you will exercise at.

For example if your MHR = 180

50% = 90 bpm
60% = 108 bpm
70% = 126 bpm
80% = 144 bpm
90% = 162 bpm


Karvonen Formula

A very effective method of calculating your Fitness Training Zone is by the Karvonen Formula. This formula takes into account your resting heart rate (RHR). Knowing your resting heart rate helps you to determine your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) or working Heart Rate. Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) or working Heart Rate is the difference between the Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) and Resting Heart Rate (RHR). The greater the difference of your MHR and your RHR the greater your HHR or WHR. This is important because this tells you how great your heart rate intensities can be.

The best way to measure your resting heart rate (RHR) is when you first wake up in the morning and before you get out of bed. Simply count your pulse for 15 seconds beginning on the zero count and multiply by 4. You can do this for 5 days and then average the results. This is your resting heart rate. Keep in mind that lack of proper rest, stress and lack of proper nutrition, and medication can influence your RHR. One sign of over-training is an elevated RHR. By becoming aware of your RHR you can more closely become more closely in tuned with with how your body is reacting to different stimulus.

You will also notice that using the Karvonen Formula the percentages of MHR will be higher. This is because this method indicates more closely your actual VO2 Max. VO2 Max, or Maximal Oxygen Consumption, is the total capacity to consume oxygen at the cellular level. This represents the total maximum aerobic capacity of the muscle cells.

MHR - RHR = _____ x % = _____ + RHR = Karvonen Formula

For Example: MHR = 180. RHR = 60

180 - 60 = 120 x 70% = 84 + 60 = 144 bpm

180 - 60 = 120 x 50% = 60 + 60 (RHR) = 120 bpm (50%)
180 - 60 = 120 x 60% = 72 + 60 (RHR) = 132 bpm (60%)
180 - 60 = 120 x 70% = 84 + 60 (RHR) = 144 bpm (70%)
180 - 60 = 120 x 80% = 96 + 60 (RHR) = 156 bpm (80%)
180 - 60 = 120 x 90% = 108 + 60 (RHR) = 168 bpm (90%)

Once you know your percentages of max heart rate then you can exercise according to your goals and fitness capacity in the following heart rate zones.

Fitness Training Zone 1 (50 - 60% of MHR) - The lowest level you can exercise in, and still increase fitness levels. For beginners or people who have not exercised for a long period of time. This Fitness Training Zone can be for just be for improving your overall health. It can also be a good recovery fitness zone for people who are over-training and need to take a break. This mode is also good for people who want to lose weight as the main source of fuel used by the body is fat stores.

Fitness Training Zone 2 (60 - 70% of MHR) - This is the zone where the heart begins to benefit. Training in this Fitness Training Zone will begin to improve your hearts ability to pump blood and improve the muscle cells ability to utilize oxygen. In this zone, stored body fat is the primary source of energy utilized, hence this zone is referred to as the weight management zone. This is a good Fitness Training Zone for long slow distance exercise as the body becomes more efficient at feeding the working muscles more efficiently especially with fat as the main fuel source.

Fitness Training Zone 3 (70 - 80% of MHR) - This Fitness Training Zone is the most effective for overall cardiovascular fitness and is often called the "aerobic zone" or "target heart rate zone". This is the optimal fitness training zone to work out in, to increase your cardio-respiratory capacity or the bodies ability to transport oxygenated blood to the muscle cells and carbon dioxide away from the cells. After awhile you will be able to cover more distance during workouts in less time. Your body will burn less glucose and more stored fat as fuel, thereby working more efficiently. This Fitness Training Zone is also effective for increasing overall muscle strength.

Fitness Training Zone 4 (80 - 90% of MHR)(85-90%= Anaerobic Threshold) - this level is where you cross over from aerobic training to anaerobic training which is called the anaerobic threshold or AT. This is the point where the body cannot effectively remove lactic Acid from the working muscles quickly enough. Lactic Acid is a by product of glycogen consumption by the working muscles.

This Fitness Training Zone is primarily for people who want to increase their performance levels. You would characterize this zone as hard. During this Fitness Training Zone your muscles are tired, your breathing is heavy and your fatigued. The benefit of training in this zone is you can increase your body´s ability to tolerate and deal with lactic acid for a longer period of time, as the enzymes in your muscles responsible for anaerobic metabolism are increased. For competitors it is good to know your anaerobic threshold as many fit athletes can compet at, or about their anaerobic threshold.

Fitness Training Zone 5 (90 - 100% of MHR)(VO2 Max) - You will only be able to train in this Fitness Zone for short periods of time. You should not train at this level unless you are very fit. In this zone lactic acid develops very quickly as you are operating with oxygen debt to the muscles. The value of this Fitness Training Zone is you can increase your fast twitch muscle fibers which increase speed. You will not be able to stay at this level very long and should be used in intervals or sprinting work at the track.

Stay back and enjoy it. For further information consult a physician/cardiologist.