Calculating your Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate (MHR) is the highest number of times your heart can contract in one minute, or the heart rate that you could achieve during maximal physical exertion. It is not the maximum you should obtain often during exercise. MHR is used as a base number to calculate target heart rate for exercise.

The most accurate way of measuring your MHR is via a cardiac stress test. In such a test, the subject exercises while being monitored by an electrocardiogram. During the test, the intensity of exercise is periodically increased until certain changes in heart function are detected in the ECG at which point the subject is directed to stop. The typical durations of such a test range from 10 to 20 minutes. This can be very expensive, instead you can use a formula to estimate your MHR.

The most common formula is: MHR = 220 − age

The most accurate formula is: MHR = 205.8 − (0.685 * age)

Two other common formulas are: MHR = 206.3 − (0.711 × age) and MHR = 217 − (0.85 × age)

Please try the MHR Calculator on the right of this page. ->

These figures are dependent on physiology and fitness. Also, population averages are just that. Two 40-year-old males with same height, weight, strength, etc. may each have predicted MHRs of 180 (= 220-Age), but these two males could have actual Max HR 20 beats apart.

Much of this information comes from wikipedia:


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