Target Heart Rate

Regular exercise that pushes your body towards your target heart rate (THR) will increase the fitness of the heart. It’s important to exercise at the right target heart rate to make the heart stronger without pushing it too hard. An older person should not be working as strongly as someone much younger, and their THR will therefore be lower.

The formula for the maximum heart rate (HR) should be 220 minus a person’s age. Working at the maximum heart rate is dangerous so it’s advised that the training or target heart rate should be 75 per cent of a person’s maximum HR.

So for a 30-year-old person:
220 - 30 = 190bpm (maximum HR)
75% of 190 = 133bpm (THR)

So 133bpm would be the target heart rate for them to maintain during their aerobic workout, after warming up. To get the best results, it is advised to do aerobic exercise to raise your HR to 75 per cent of your maximum HR for at least 20 minutes, after warming up, three times a week.

Focusing your level of exertion within this ideal range of heart rate during aerobic exercise enables your heart and lungs to receive the most benefit from a workout. This theoretical range is based on your physical condition, age, and previous training, and takes into account the element of "intensity" of exercise.

There are a number of ways of monitoring your heart rate during exercise. Many gyms include cardiovascular training machines such as treadmills or cross-trainers, with sensors in the handles, which can monitor your heart rate as you exercise. Alternatively, you can wear a heart rate monitor, generally consisting of a chest belt detector and a receiver on your wrist, which enables you to exercise anywhere.