What is Target Heart Rate and why is it so important anyways?

In today’s fitness world, the term “target heart rate” is becoming more and more popular. Some gyms even center on heart rate training. So what is your “target heart rate?”

Target Heart Rate (THR) is defined as a specific age-related heart rate to be maintained during aerobic exercise for optimal cardiovascular function. Essentially, is it an exercise intensity you should maintain to get the most out of your cardiovascular workouts; For most people, this range is between 60-80% of their maximal heart rate. What is your maximal heart rate? This is a heart rate where you are working so hard your heart cannot beat any faster and you either need to stop or slow down, because you cannot maintain this level of intensity. For most people, they won’t ever reach their maximal heart rate because it is not a sustainable activity level.

For someone looking to find their target heart rate, there is an easy formula to follow:

220 – age = your estimated max heart rate

To find your target heart rate, you then take that number and multiply by 60% and 80%. That is your range to stay in when doing your cardio training. For example, a 60 year old’s estimated max heart rate would be 160 bpm. Their target heart rate would be 96pm

Keep in mind this is only an estimation. These numbers can be off by 5 beats in either direction, which is why the range is so large for target heart rate. Do your best to stay in that zone to get the most out of your cardio training!


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