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Target Heart Rate

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.

AgeTarget Heart Rate Zone 50-75%
20 years100-150 beats per minute
25 years98-146 beats per minute
30 years95-142 beats per minute
35 years93-138 beats per minute
40 years90-135 beats per minute
45 years88-131 beats per minute
50 years85-127 beats per minute
55 years83-123 beats per minute
60 years80-120 beats per minute
65 years78-116 beats per minute
70 years75-113 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.