To improve your cardiovascular fitness, you need to raise your heart rate to a certain level
and keep it there for 20 minutes. Ideally, you should be working within the 50 to 75 percent
of your maximum heart rate, a range called your target heart rate.
The table below gives estimated target heart rates based on age group. Note that these figures
are guidelines - talk to your doctor about the right level for you.
||Target Heart Rate
Heart Rate (100%)
||100-150 beats per minute
||98-146 beats per minute
||95-142 beats per minute
||93-138 beats per minute
||90-135 beats per minute
||88-131 beats per minute
||85-127 beats per minute
||83-123 beats per minute
||80-120 beats per minute
||78-116 beats per minute
||75-113 beats per minute
When you're exercising, stop occasionally to check your pulse and make sure your activity
level isn't too high or too low. Take your pulse within five seconds after stopping because
your heart rate starts dropping when you stop moving. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and
multiply that number by six to get your rate per minute.
If you're new to exercise or haven't worked out in a while, start slow! During the first weeks,
aim for reaching the number at the lower end of the range for your target rate. Slowly build
up your intensity level to the higher end of the range.
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This page was last modified on 10/20/2011