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Find Your Target Heart Rate

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Updated June 28, 2012

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How to Find Your Resting Heart Rate
Pulse

Take Your Pulse

If you're curious about the effectiveness of your workouts, one way to test that is by using your target heart rate zone (THR). Knowing your THR zone can help you pace yourself so you burn calories without tiring out too quickly.

The most common way to find out your THR is to use a formula, though it's important to remember that formulas aren't always 100% accurate. Also, there are medications that can affect heart rate, particularly blood pressure medication. Make sure you check with your doctor about monitoring exercise intensity if you fall into this category.

In this step-by-step, you'll learn how to calculate your THR zone and how to use it. Your first step is to find your resting heart rate (RHR) which is a measure of your basic fitness level.

Before you get out of bed in the morning, take your pulse for 1 full minute, counting each heart beat to find your beats per minute (bpm). To take your pulse, use one of the following methods:

  1. Place your index and middle fingers directly under your ear, then slide your fingers down until they are directly under your jawbone, pressing lightly.
  2. Place your index and middle fingers over the outside of your opposite wrist, just below the base of your thumb.

For a more accurate measurement, take your pulse for 3 mornings and take an average. A normal RHR for adults is between 60-100, although exercisers and athletes may have lower RHR (the lower it is, the more fit you are). If your RHR is over 100, you should call your doctor to get checked out.

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