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Cardio Heart Rate Formula

by
author image Kate Richey
Kate Richey has been active in the health and fitness fields since 2005. Following completion of her M.S.Ed in exercise science and wellness from Old Dominion University, Richey obtained her physical activity in public health specialist certification and health fitness specialist certification through the ACSM.
Cardio Heart Rate Formula
Two people are running on treadmills. Photo Credit shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

Calculating your maximum heart rate and determining your target cardiovascular work zone can be incredibly helpful in illustrating your workload. By identifying your target work zone, you can exercise more efficiently and personalize your workout routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends participating in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular exercise weekly in order to reduce health risks. Moderate-intensity exercises include swimming, light jogging and brisk walking. Vigorous-intensity exercises include cycling, running and aerobics.

Maximum Heart Rate and Moderate-Intensity Exercise

Step 1

Calculate your maximum heart rate using the formula 220 – age. For example, if you are 30 years old, your heart rate would be 220 – 30 = 190 beats per minute.

Step 2

Use the suggested percentages of heart rate maximum for moderate-intensity exercise.Use 50 percent to 70 percent to calculate your cardiovascular work zone. First, multiply your heart rate maximum by the low end range, 0.50. A 30-year-old person would calculate their heart rate zone like this: 190 times 0.50 = 95 beats per minute (bpm).

Step 3

Calculate the upper end of your cardiovascular work zone by multiplying your heart rate maximum by the high-end range, 0.70. A 30-year-old person would calculate the high-end range of their work zone like this: 190 times 0.70 = 133 bpm.

Heart Rate Maximum and Vigorous-Intensity Exercise

Step 1

Calculate your heart rate maximum using the formula 220 – age.

Step 2

Use the suggested percentages of heart rate maximum for vigorous-intensity exercise -- 70 percent to 85 percent -- to calculate your cardiovascular work zone. Multiply your heart rate maximum by the low range, 0.70.

Step 3

Multiply your maximum heart rate by the high range, 0.85, to complete your cardiovascular work zone for cardiovascular exercise.

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