Target Heart Rates | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


Continuing with our heart-healthy challenge, today we are going to learn about our target heart rates. Yet ANOTHER number, I know. You thought (hoped) you were done with math in high school and college, right?

What is the “target heart rate?” Simply put, it’s the desired range of heart rate reached during aerobic exercise that allows you to get the most out of your workout.

It is important to pace yourself and not tire too quickly, especially if you have been inactive. For maximum physical benefit, you want to be withing 50-85% of your maximum heart rate.

Sometimes it is just NOT convenient or possible to monitor your heart rate. In this case, you may want to use the “conversational pace.” If you can talk and walk at the same time, you are NOT working too hard. If you can sing and maintain your level of effort, you are probably not working hard ENOUGH. And if you are out of breath and have trouble talking, you are probably working TOO hard.

Back to monitoring your heart rate. You can do it manually on one of your pulse points while looking at a watch, wear a heart rate monitor, or if you are using cardio equipment, many come equipped with a sensor on it already.

Take a look at this table:

Age Target HR Zone
50–85 %
Average Maximum Heart Rate

100 %

20 years 100–170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
25 years 98–166 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
30 years 95–162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93–157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90–153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88–149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85–145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83–140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80–136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78–132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years 75–128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures above are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

Like I said already, it is important to pace yourself. When you first begin exercising, aim for the lower range or your target heart rate. Start working yourself up over the next few weeks. After several months of regular exercise, aim to stay around that 85% range.

**Once again, we are not doctors here at Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. We are stating opinions and passing on researched information. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program, particularly if you have high blood pressure or any other pre-existing condition, or if you’ve been sedentary for a long time.**

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