Know Your Heart Rate

Did you know that with every beat of your heart, every minute of every day, your heart sends you an indication of how it’s doing? And that communication is your heart rate (HR). Your rate will change as you age so it’s important to know what your ideal heart rate is while resting and for optimal exercise throughout your lifetime. You can easily go through life never knowing what your rate is, but, since it may impact the quality of your life and the potential to fight disease, isn’t it worth taking some time to learn about it?

Your Heart’s Indicator – Your Rate

It’s a good indicator that we need exercise . That we need to stay active. That we are made to move. And while your heart is the main reason to strive to take one more flight of stairs, do the treadmill for 5 more minutes or stick to your aerobics class when you don’t feel like going, your heart rate will let you know how you are doing with that goal.

Tracking your rate is easy and free. Recording it in a journal is also easy and free (besides the paper and pen). So, you may ask, if that is the case, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, because, as we mentioned earlier, it’s something that’s there every minute of every day that your heart beats. And its human nature to take things for granted that are seemingly abundant. Until we have problems. Then we pay attention.

But we have good news. Great news actually. And that is that tracking and recording your HR, even when you are sleeping, is possible with the help of a fitness tracker. All you have to do is purchase a tracker and if it has a watch feature, replace your watch with it. If there is no watch feature use as the manufacturer recommends. Also note that since you wear it while moving, it’s important to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the tracker properly.

So, before we get into fitness trackers, let’s reiterate why knowing your HR is so important.

Resting Rate? Active Rate?

Know your resting and active rate. Why should you measure your heart if you aren’t exercising? Great question! Did you know that even your resting HR is a good indicator of heart health ?

We featured these interesting quotes in December that are worth repeating. See if you agree.

Exercise: benefits of monitoring your heart rate

When it comes to exercising and your heart rate  or exertion, knowing your target heart rate can help you be more conscious of the effort you’re putting in, or the effort you still need to put in. If you track your heart rate during exercise and you know what zone you should be in you can adjust the intensity as necessary and save yourself time and effort while getting the most out of your workout.

∼ by Amy Froneman for health24

3 Things You Can Learn from Your Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate is measured by beats per minute or BPM. For the super fit, RHR tends to be lower because a healthy heart is able to pump more blood with each beat with greater efficiency, thus requiring fewer beats per minute to pump blood throughout the body. Conversely, an elevated heart rate can be a sign of health issues.

∼ by Mackenzie Lobby Havey for the Under Armour Blog

Know Your Target Heart Rate for Exercise, Losing Weight and Health

Hit the Target: Find Your Heart Rate

See the Heart Rate Chart below to find the target heart rate for your age


Now that you have a target, you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you’re in the zone. As you exercise, periodically check your heart rate. A wearable activity tracker makes it super easy, but if you don’t use one you can also find it manually:

  • Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
  • Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) and press lightly over the artery.
  • Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to find your beats per minute.

Important Note: Some drugs and medications affect heart rate, meaning you may have a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication, ask your healthcare provider what your heart rate should be.

∼ by

Rate by Age ~

Age Target HR Zone 50-85 Average Maximum Heart
Rate, 100%
20 years 100-170 beats per minute (bpm) 200 bpm
30 years 95-162 bpm 190 bpm
35 years 93-157 bpm 185 bpm
40 years 90-153 bpm 180 bpm
45 years 88-149 bpm 175 bpm
50 years 85-145 bpm 170 bpm
55 years 83-140 bpm 165 bpm
60 years 80-136 bpm 160 bpm
65 years 78-132 bpm 155 bpm
70 years 75-128 bpm 150 bpm

Person Taking Their Radial Heart Rate by crfitness.netAdditional Resources

CRFitness has a very good article that will teach you what you need to know: How to Take a Resting Heart Rate.

Also, a very comprehensive article, explaining what heart zone training is, the different training zones and their benefits, and how to calculate your target heart rate zone, written by David De Haan, Understanding Heart Zone Training: All You Need to Know .

Resting Heart Rate Chart by

Homework for You

You may not have done this in years, but you have some homework to do. And this homework will benefit you immediately. For the next few weeks, track your heart rate manually (or with your fitness tracker) and keep a simple journal. If your tracker keeps this information, check it each day. Record what the rate when you first wake up and are still at rest and then again while active. If you are highly active, record your peak rate as well as what you are doing at that time (running, biking, weights, etc.).

The bottom line: listen to your heart and hear what it is saying.

In the next few articles, we’ll focus on how you can use this information to motivate yourself, so stay tuned! Thank you for spending part of your day with us.

Let us know if you have a good way to track your HR – we’d love to hear from you! Wishing you the best of health!

Do you know your Heart Rate? Let us know if you do, or if you never gave it a thought…

Want to learn more? Read: Finding Your Heart Rate

We hope you found this information useful and want to thank you for spending time with us today. And we hope you think of us when making Amazon purchases and use our website links to make your fitness (or other) purchases.

Note: it is important to discuss your plans with your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program, so they can be sure your goals are right for you. You should always ask your doctor any questions you may have about your health.

Author: Joan

We provide information and motivation focused on the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It's that important.

19 thoughts

  1. Good one..
    Also read this article to know the difference between heart attack, cardiac arrest and heart failure.

    1. Thank you for sharing that vitally important information HealthWarriors1! Wishing you the best of health.

  2. This is such an interesting post. I have become less active over recent months, I knew I was losing my flexibility but never even thought of my heart rate changing. Definitely something to monitor and keep an eye on.

    1. Excellent Dawn, it’s important as a care-giver to take care of yourself! Hugs and thanks for stopping by – I know you are swamped and really appreciate you taking the time to stop by. I hope you find that knowing your heart rate is very beneficial. Wishing you the best of health!

      1. I really enjoy your blog posts Joan, always so informative and full of great advice. The heart rate post grabbed my attention as I’ve been experiencing anxiety attacks over the past weeks, understandable I suppose. I really am trying to do more self care. As you say, as a caregiver I need to look after myself in order to look after others xx

        1. hi Dawn, I am delighted that what I am sharing is helpful to you. I’ve started taking care of myself about 4 years ago with exercise and trying to watch what I eat. Before that I had always struggled with my weight. Maybe it’s because I’m such a big fan of ice cream :). To me it’s moderation and motivation. They are tough, but I’ve found that small things add up and I’ve been able to keep my weight where I’m happy with it for the first time in years. So you see, knowing that you enjoy what I’m sharing means the world to me. Thank you so much Dawn, you really do Sparkle! :)

        2. Aw Joan I’m sure that your website and posts are helping a lot more people than me. I too love Ice Cream, I’m a demon for the chocolate and I do love a glass of Prosecco or Cava. As you say though, all things in moderation. My diet has been atrocious over the past months. Mom is mostly on protein shakes rather than solid food and now that Dad is in heaven, I don’t have the inclination to cook for myself. However, I am more aware than before that Mom is 100% dependant on me so recently I have upped my game for eating healthier and trying to move more. This is where your posts are just invaluable. I can dip in and out when I get some time. Helps to put me back on track so thank you for building and sharing an amazing resource xx

        3. Dawn, you have no idea how much your thoughts mean to me. I apologize that I haven’t written sooner, but I couldn’t think of anything to say that could express my gratitude. I’ve heard in the past that saying “thank you” is all you need to do, but I am so grateful that the phrase seems inadequate. Hopefully some day the words will come to me. In the meantime, Thank You my friend. You truly bring a sparkle to my life! Hugs! And keep up the good work with taking care of yourself. I know your dad is watching over you and I sure your mom appreciates you as much as she can. Hang in there, you are doing a great job!

        4. Oh Joan please don’t apologise I understand how busy you are and I know it’s not easy to keep up with everything. I know exactly what you mean, the words sometimes just don’t convey what you really want to say. I’m so happy I bring some sparkle to your day. Take care lovely Joan, keep up the fantastic posts guiding us to a healthier lifestyle and have a wonderful weekend xxx

        5. I hope it’s a wonderful weekend for you – take care my friend. xx

    1. Ah shucks – you always know what to say Christy! Hugs – and I hope your wedding plans are coming along superbly my friend! Cheers and wishing you all the very best life has to offer!

  3. :) AOC – thanks for spending time with us – we hope this article is helpful.

  4. Very nice post! I definitely learned something from this. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. Thank you Vic, we hope you benefit by this information and visit us often! Thank you for stopping by today!

    1. Why thank you Rozina, being active is so important and watching your heart rate is a great way to know how you’re doing to goal. While HR isn’t perfectly accurate for everyone, you can become familiar with yours and that way you may know sooner if there is an issue.
      Thank you for spending time with us today Rozina…

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