Heart Rate

Q: What is a heart rate?

A: The average number of heart beats per minute; a heart beat is when the heart contracts to pump blood thru your system.

Q: What is a resting heart rate?

A: Resting heart rate is the number of beats in one minute while you are at a complete rest state. Your resting heart rate indicates your basic overall heart health and fitness level. The more conditioned your body is, the less effort it needs to make to pump blood thru your body.

Q: What is a recovery heart rate?

A: This is the heart rate your body will drop to after two minutes, after stopping an exercise session. For instance you exercised for 30 minutes and your heart rate was at 155. Two minutes after you stopped exercising, your heart rate then decreased to 95. This recovery heart rate measure helps to evaluate your overall heart fitness level. Use this measurement to compare between exercise sessions

Q: What is a maximum heart rate?

A: A maximum heart rate (Max HR) is the highest number of beats your heart contracts during a one minute measurement. Max HR is a useful tool to measure training intensities and typically is used to measure or predict the level of exercise. It’s always good to measure your Max HR while doing exercises to ensure you stay within a safe range or use it to measure if the exercise is actually working well enough to raise your heart rate to acceptable ranges and levels.

Q: How do I measure a Max HR?

A: The best method of determining your individual maximum heart rate is to be clinically tested and monitored on a treadmill. This is called a treadmill stress testing and is done by a cardiologist or certified physical therapist. Based on your age and physical condition, a formula is used to predict your Max HR. The other method is by using an age-predicted maximum heart rate formula:

WOMEN: 226 – your age = age-adjusted Max HR
MEN: 220 – your age = age-adjusted Max HR

Example: If you are a 30-year-old woman, your age-adjusted maximum heart rate is 226- 30 years = 196 bpm (beats per minute).

*note that this formula allows you to estimate your Max HR. Be sure to consult with your exercise trainer and doctors for the most effective rates that are customized to your health.

Parents often know that their own pulse rate or heart rate should be within about 60 to 100 beats per minute. It is very common for parents to wonder if their children’s vitals signs are normal for their ages or sizes. They are often surprised that younger kids can normally have a much higher pulse rate than adults.It is important to know what a normal pulse rate is and what your childs pulse rate is when they are exercising.

Where to Measure the Pulse

The pulse is measured at the areas in which the artery passes close to the skin:

In these areas, an artery passes close to the skin.

Once you find the pulse, count the beats for 1 full minute, or for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. This will give the beats per minute. Or press down until you feel the pulse, and then count each beat for 10 seconds. Multiply that amount by 6 to get your child’s heartbeat.

How to Prepare for the Test

To determine the resting heart rate, you must have been resting for at least 10 minutes. Take the exercise heart rate while you are exercising.

Why the Test is Performed

Measuring the pulse can give very important information about your health. Any change from normal heart rate can indicate a medical condition. Fast pulse may signal an infection or dehydration. In emergency situations, the pulse rate can help determine if the patient’s heart is pumping.

The pulse measurement has other uses as well. During exercise or immediately after exercise, the pulse rate can give information about your fitness level and health.

Average Pulse Rates

A child will usually be close to having an average pulse rate for his age when he is at rest, and is not crying, running, or playing. During crying or physical activity, a child’s pulse rate may climb to the upper limits of normal for his age and it may drop to the lower limits of normal when he is sleeping.

Talk to your pediatrician if your child always seems to be at either the upper or lower limits of normal — for example, if he is at the lower range of normal for his pulse rate, even when he is running around and playing, or if he is always at the upper range of normal for his pulse rate, even when he is sleeping.

One exception for the lower limit of normal may include very athletic teens, who can have resting pulse rates as low as 40 to 50 beats/min.

Heart Rate Charts:

Heart Rate Chart: Babies to Adults

AGE Beats Per Minute (BPM)
Babies to Age 1 100 – 160
Children ages 1-10 60 – 140
Children age 10+ and adults 60 – 100
Athletes: 40 – 60


Target Heart Rate During Exercise

Age Min-max Heart Rate (BPM)
15 123 – 164
20 120 – 160
25 117 – 156
30 114 – 152
35 111 – 148
40 108 – 144
45 105 – 140
50 102 – 136
55 99 – 132
60 96 – 128
65 90 – 120
70 90 – 120
75 87 – 116


Q: What is your heart rate reserve?

A: The heart rate reserve is the difference between your Max HR and your Resting HR. For instance, if your Max HR is 150 bpm and your resting HR is 65, this means your heart rate reserve is 95. (150 – 65 = 95)

Q: What is a safe heart rate?

A: Your “safe heart rate” is a heart rate that is prescribed to help moderate and supervise your exercise training so that you don’t over do it. This range is typically about 60% of the maximum heart rate and helps to reduce the amount of stress on the heart while gaining good effects of exercise. This is especially important if you have a heart condition or just starting an exercise regime.

Q: What is a target zone?

A: A target zone is a heart rate range that helps you maintain an intensity level while you work out. There are different target zones for different types of athletes and levels of exercise you are following. Target zones typically correspond with a specific exercise goal and helps to effectively grade if an exercise is actually working for you or overworking you.


Fitness Target Zones: Heart Rates

Exercise Level Benefits Intensity Level
(Max HR %)
Light Exercise Healthy Heart
50% – 60%
Weight Loss Burn Fat & Calories 60% – 70%
Base – Aerobic Increase stamina & endurance 70% – 80%
Conditioning Fitness conditioning, muscle building, and athletic training 80% – 90%
Athletic – elite Athletic training and endurance 90% – 100%


Select which level represents your physical condition and then locate the Heart Rate Zones for your age from the Target Heart Rate Chart. For Example: if you want to burn fat to lose weight, select your favorite exercise and keep within 60-70% of your maximum heart rate, based on your age, for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week.