Heart Rate for Your Fitness level


“Heart Rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute”1.

Knowing your heart rate is useful for:

  • knowing your fitness level
  • while exercising
    • by getting your heart rate in a desired target zone you can:
      • exercise to lose weight
      • know how much effort you are doing (intensity)
  • know your heart health.
    • we can detect changes as we age and monitor how healthy it is according to our age.

Heart rate can help you monitor your fitness level — and it might even help you spot developing health problems


To know the heart rate, we need to count the beats per minute, by placing a finger over the wrist or neck for 60 seconds and counting in each beat (or it can be done measuring 30 seconds and multiply it by 2).


As you move, the heart increases the amount of blood pumped, when you rest, the demands are lower so the pulse decreases its rate.

Resting Heart Rate

The lowest pulse is known as resting heart rate, when we are quiet we can measure it, which would be normally between 60 (beats per minute) and 100 (beats per minute)2.

Low good

A lower resting heart rate means that the heart muscle doesn’t need to work hard to maintain a steady beat.

High bad

A higher resting heart rate can indicate3

  • a bad fitness condition
  • higher blood pressure or
  • overweight.

Maximum Heart Rate

As heart rate changes with age. Each age group has its estimated maximum heart rate which is calculated with the formula: 220-age 4.

Target Heart Rate

Knowing our maximum heart rate enables us to calculate our target heart rate, which is the heart rate we should focus on when exercising depending on our goals.

  • 64%-76% of maximum heart rate: Moderate intensity activity
  • 77%-93% of maximum heart rate: Vigorous physical activity

Percentages as described at CDC website5


There are also other methods to calculate the Target Heart Rate:

  • Karvonen method6
  • Zoladz method7

Monitor HR

Knowing the above intensity table and calculating your heart rate while exercising, you know at what intensity you are exercising.

If you are below the expected bpm, push yourself a bit more. If bpm are above target, make it lighter.


  1. All About Heart Rate (Pulse) at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/all-about-heart-rate-pulse ↩︎

  2. Pulse at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/all-about-heart-rate-pulse ↩︎

  3. Elevated resting heart rate, physical fitness and all-cause mortality, Epidemiology, 2013 http://heart.bmj.com/content/99/12/882.full?sid=90e3623c-1250-4b94-928c-0a8f95c5b36b ↩︎

  4. Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate, Centers for Disease Control website https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/heartrate.htm ↩︎

  5. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/heartrate.htm ↩︎

  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_rate#Karvonen_method ↩︎

  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_rate#Zoladz_method ↩︎

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