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What is a Good Exercise Heart Rate?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
What is a Good Exercise Heart Rate?
A woman using a smartphone to time her pulse after a work-out. Photo Credit: michaelpuche/iStock/Getty Images

The easiest way to figure your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. Once you know this number, you can determine a good heart rate for your next exercise session.

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Moderate-Intensity Zone

Use heart rate to evaluate whether you are working at an adequate intensity during aerobic activity. For a moderate-intensity workout, aim for a heart rate that is between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is about 180 beats per minute. Your moderate-intensity zone is thus between 90 and 126 beats per minute. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you fit in at least 150 minutes of activity in this zone every week.

Vigorous Intensity

A vigorous-intensity heart rate zone is between 70 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. For the 40-year-old example, aim for between 126 and 153 beats per minute. With 75 minutes per week at this intensity level, you meet the CDC's exercise recommendations for health.

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