Your max heart rate helps you determine your target zones during exercise. Here’s how to find it.

Fitness girl running on treadmill. Woman with muscular legs in gym

For overall health, Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes (one and a quarter hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.

Health benefits of regular exercise include cardiovascular fitness, greater muscle and bone strength, and improved blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health.

How do you know what intensity you’re working at?

As our exercise intensity increases, so does our heart rate, as it pumps more blood and more oxygen to our working muscles. One way to work out your exercise intensity is calculate your maximum heart rate.

Your target heart rate is between 50% and 85 % of your maximum heart rate.

• If you are working at moderate intensity your heart rate will be 50-70% of your maximum heart rate.

• If you are working at a vigorous intensity your heart rate will be 70-85% of your maximum heart rate.

How to measure your heart rate

• Using the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb – there’s a pressure point there that will confuse your reading), press lightly on the inside of your wrist, below your thumb.

• Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to give you the number of beats per minute (BPM)

• Check our calculator to see if you are working in the target heart range.

Remember this calculation is an estimate only, and if you are not sure of your fitness level, always check with your doctor before starting to exercise, and gradually increase the intensity.


References/more information

Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines

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