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Maximum Heart Rate


Updated May 16, 2014

Female doctor using stethoscope on patient.
Dougal Waters/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Definition: Your maximum heart rate (MHR) is the fastest rate at which your heart will be in one minute. You might wonder why you need to know this number and, unless you use track your heart rate during exercise, you may not have any need to calculate your MHR.

But, for exercisers, the typical way we calculate MHR is with the formula 220-age. This formula is a bit controversial because it doesn't reflect the differences in heart rate according to age. A more accurate formula, offered in a study published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, is 206.9 - (0.67 x age).

Find out more about how to use your MHR to calculate your heart rate zones in these resources:


Jackson, Andrew S. Estimating Maximum Heart Rate From Age: Is It a Linear Relationship? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 39(5):821, May 2007.

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