for Veterans and the Public
Target heart rate
Your target heart rate is the rate (the number of times your heart beats per minute) at which you receive the maximum benefit from exercise. At your target heart rate, you're working hard but not too hard. To find your target heart rate, you have to measure your pulse at different times while you exercise. The table below gives target heart rates for different ages. If you're just starting out, aim for the lower end of your range. To measure your heart rate while you're exercising, find your pulse (usually easiest to find at your wrist near the base of your thumb, or on the side of your neck), and count how many times you feel your pulse beat in a minute. You can also count how many times you feel your pulse beat in 10 seconds, and then multiply this number by 6.
|Age||Target Heart Rate Zone 50-75%|
|20 years||100-150 beats per minute|
|25 years||98-146 beats per minute|
|30 years||95-142 beats per minute|
|35 years||93-138 beats per minute|
|40 years||90-135 beats per minute|
|45 years||88-131 beats per minute|
|50 years||85-127 beats per minute|
|55 years||83-123 beats per minute|
|60 years||80-120 beats per minute|
|65 years||78-116 beats per minute|
|70 years||75-113 beats per minute|
If you don't want to take your pulse while you are exercising, here's some other ways to tell if your workout is too hard or too easy:
- If you can talk while you exercise, you are not working too hard.
- If you can sing while you exercise, you are not working hard enough.
- If you get out of breath quickly, you are working too hard.
Remember, if you are walking, jogging, or running outdoors, make sure you save enough energy for the return trip. Don't overdo it.