Target heart rate is a range of numbers that reflect how fast your heart should be beating when you exercise. A higher heart rate is a good thing that leads to greater fitness. During exercise, you can monitor heart rate and try to reach this target zone. Doctors also use target heart rate to interpret the results of a cardiac stress test.
The average heart beats per minute (bpm) for a man or women who does not exercise is 70 bpm. Normal heart rates at rest for Children (ages 6 - 15) is 70 – 100 beats per minute. Adults (age 18 and over) is 60 – 100 beats per minute.
Heart rate varies between people because of fitness, age and genetics. The heart rate can vary according to the body's physical needs, including the need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. Activities that can provoke change include physical exercise, sleep, anxiety, stress, illness, and ingestion of drugs.
To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. This number represents how many times your heart should beat per minute at its maximum rate. Multiply that number by 0.5 - 0.85 (or 50% - 85%) to determine your target heart rate range. If exercising at a moderate intensity, build up to exercising at 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. If exercising at a vigorous intensity, build up to exercising at 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate for 1 hour and 15 minutes a week.