Before determining your heart rate during exercise, you need to determine your maximum heart rate. Maximum heart rate refers to the recommended maximum number of heart beats per minute during exercise. A general equation for calculating your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. See the table below for heart rate averages based upon age. These can be used as a general guide.
Source: American Heart Association
Once you determine your maximum heart rate, you can determine what your heart rate should be based on your exercise intensity. If you’re doing moderate intensity exercise, your heart rate should be between 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate. If you’re doing vigorous exercise, your heart rate should be between 70% and 85% of your max heart rate. If you’re just starting out, aim for the lower range of your target zone (50 percent) and gradually build up. For maximum benefits, include both moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity in your routine along with strengthening and stretching exercises.
Although exercise amount, intensity, and type vary depending on your goals, there are some general guidelines that you can follow. For general health benefits, the U.S. Department of Health recommends:
If you want to see significant change (i.e. weight loss, increased strength, changes in body shape), you need more than 150 minutes of activity per week. The U.S. Department of Health recommends:
Something else to keep in mind is that there are many other benefits of exercise other than weight loss and looking good in a bathing suit. You may not be able to see these benefits, but they are much more important than the number on the scale.
American Heart Association. Target Heart Rates Chart. Heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Health.gov. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans | health.gov