How to find your maximum heart rate

How to find your maximum heart rate

Use a maximum heart rate equation.

You can estimate your maximum heart rate with the equation:

205.8 – 0.685 (age)

Someone who is 40 years old would have an estimated maximum heart rate of 178 beats per minute (bpm) using this equation.

Here’s the math:

  • 205.8 – 0.685 (age) = estimated maximum heart rate
  • 205.8 – 0.685 (40) = 178.4 bpm
  • 178.4 is rounded to 178 bpm

This calculation provides an estimate of your maximum heart rate and may vary by up to 6 beats per minute. Therefore, the maximum heart rate for a 40-year old may actually be anywhere between 172  – 184 bpm.

Heart rate charts that you see at a gym or studio use the equation: 220 – age = estimated maximum heart rate. The estimated margin of error with this equation is up to 12 beats per minute.

Edwards, S., & Brown, L. (2003). Fit and Fat; The 8-Week Heart Zones Program.
ACSM’s Helath-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual (2005). Philadelphia: Lipincott Williams & Williams

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