Top 5 things to know about your maximum heart rate

Top 5 things to know about your maximum heart rate

Your maximum heart rate is genetic and not a reflection of your fitness level.

1.  It’s genetic.

Your maximum heart rate is the greatest number of times your heart can beat in one minute, and you are born with it. Your maximum heart rate does not change unless you are sedentary.

2.  It does not reflect your fitness.

Your maximum heart rate does not reflect your fitness level or how ‘in shape’ you are. For example, a high maximum heart rate does not mean that you have a high level of fitness.

3.  It’s used to recommend exercise intensity.

Exercise intensity is often quantified as a percentage of your maximum heart rate. For example, moderate intensity exercise is defined as exercising between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate.

4.  You can estimate it with an equation.

You can estimate your maximum heart rate with the equation: 220 – age =

This calculation provides an estimate of your maximum heart rate and may vary by up to 10-12 beats per minute.

5.  It may be affected by medication.

Medication for heart conditions, cholesterol, high blood pressure, anxiety, and other conditions may alter your heart rate. Check with your doctor to see if any medication you take affects your heart rate.

Edwards, S. (1997). The Heart Rate Monitor Guidebook to Heart Zone Training. Sacramento: Heart Zones Publishing.

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