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Target Heart Rate - Range, Influencing Factors, and Abnormalities

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The standard contractions of the heart in sixty seconds in adults range from seventy to a hundred beats. This article is an overview of the target heart rate.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Isaac Gana

Published At January 2, 2023
Reviewed AtJanuary 2, 2023


Heart rate is the speed by which the human heart normally beats. This is measured by the number of contractions of the heart’s structure in one minute or every sixty seconds. It should be noted that a heart rate that falls slightly in the lower range during rest indicates a more sound and efficient functioning of the heart and a healthy cardiovascular system. The pulse can be checked in order to measure the heart rate. There are several manners in which the pulse can be read. One of the most common ways is to place the index and the third finger on the side of one’s neck or to the side of the windpipe. In addition to this, the pulse may also be checked at the wrist joint by placing two fingers between the radial bone or the bone on the thumb side of the wrist. The beats are then counted twice at an interval of fifteen seconds.

What Are the Factors That Influence the Target Heart Rate?

A person’s heart rate is not the same in every age group. Different age groups have different heart rates. Also, the heart rate of individuals who fall in the same age group also has many variations. This is purely on a physiological basis. There are a few heart rate abnormalities that are generally found in individuals with an underlying cardiovascular condition. For example, tachycardia is the condition of an increased heart rate, whereas bradycardia is the condition of an abnormally low heart rate. Both conditions show clinical manifestations of fainting, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Numerous factors influence the target heart rate.

A few of them are mentioned below.

  • Age.

  • Diet.

  • Stress.

  • Geographical atmosphere and location.

  • Fitness level.

  • Physical activeness.

  • Smoking.

  • Presence of cardiovascular disease.

  • High cholesterol.

  • Diabetes mellitus.

  • Air temperature.

  • Standing up.

  • Lying down.

  • Emotions.

  • Body size.

  • Medications.

What Is the Maximum Heart Rate?

The maximum heart rate refers to the highest rate of heart one can achieve during ultimate physical exercise. Many researchers have established a formula that promises to give an approximate highest heart rate of an individual. 220 - age of a person = approximate maximum heart rate.

What Is the Target Range Of Heart Rate According to Age Groups?

Mentioned below are the ranges of the target heart rate at rest for specific age groups according to the statistics of the World Health Organization.

  • Newborn: 100-160 bpm.

  • Age 0-5 months: 90-150 bpm.

  • Age 6-12 months: 80-140 bpm.

  • Age 1-3 years: 80-130 bpm.

  • Age 3-5 years: 80-120 bpm.

  • Age 6-10 years: 70-110 bpm.

  • Age 11-14 years: 60-105 bpm.

  • Age 20: 120 – 170 bpm.

  • Age 25: 117 – 166 bpm.

  • Age 30: 114 – 162 bpm.

  • Age 35: 111 – 157 bpm.

  • Age 40: 108 – 153 bpm.

  • Age 45: 105 – 149 bpm.

  • Age 50: 102 – 145 bpm.

  • Age 55: 99 – 140 bpm.

  • Age 60: 96 – 136 bpm.

  • Age 65: 93 – 132 bpm.

  • Age 70: 90 – 123 bpm.

How to Measure the Heart Rate?

There are several ways by which a person can measure their heart rate. Placing the index and middle finger at various parts of the body can help palpate the pulse. The pulse should be noted down in sixty seconds, which will be the standard heart rate. Body parts that are sensitive to pulse and aid in palpating the heartbeat are the following mentioned below.

  • The side of the neck.
  • The pit opposite the elbow.

  • The base of the wrist.

  • The temples of the head.

  • The corner of the eye.

  • The bottom of the toe.

  • Beside the windpipe.

  • Back of the knees.

  • Groin.

  • The inner side of the foot.

  • Top of the foot.

What Causes An Elevated Heart Rate?

An increase in the heart rate or tachycardia can result from a range of activities as well as physiological disturbances. There are no set rules of causes that lead to elevated heart rates. The opposite of tachycardia is called bradycardia. Mentioned below are a few possible reasons that may result in an increased heart rate.

  • Aging.

  • Stress.

  • Obesity.

  • Drinking coffee.

  • Smoking.

  • Pregnancy.

  • Standing up all of a sudden.

  • Intense physical activity.

  • Drinking alcohol.

  • Living in a tropical country.

  • Certain medications.

  • Drugs.

  • Anxiety.

  • Issues with the heart’s conduction system.

  • Fear.

  • Anemia.

  • Infection.

  • Elevated thyroid hormone.

  • Dehydration.

  • Stress.

  • Fever.

What Causes A Decrease in the Heart Rate?

Bradycardia is the condition when an individual suffers from low heart rates. Several reasons may lead to bradycardia. Mentioned below are some of the causes of a decreased heart rate.

  • Heart tissue damage.

  • Age.

  • Heart attack.

  • Congenital heart defect.

  • Inflammation of heart tissue.

  • Heart surgery complications.

  • An underactive thyroid gland.

  • Imbalance of chemicals in the blood.

  • Imbalance of calcium levels.

  • Imbalance of potassium levels.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Rheumatic fever.

  • Lupus

  • Sedatives.

  • Opioids.

  • Antiarrhythmic drugs.

  • Psychiatric medications.

  • Beta-blockers.

How to Diagnose an Abnormal Heart Rate?

Tachycardia or bradycardia are issues that need to be addressed. The reasons for such abnormal heart rate may be a warning sign of an underlying cardiovascular condition. It should also be considered a wake-up call to move to a more healthy and active lifestyle. The healthcare provider generally takes a thorough medical and drug history of the patient. Below are a few diagnostic tools that the healthcare provider may use to diagnose the root cause of abnormal heart rate.

  • Holter monitor.

  • Electrocardiogram.

  • Tilt-table test.

  • Treadmill test.

  • Ultrasound of the heart.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging.

  • Computerized tomography scan.

  • Electrophysiological study.

  • Complete blood test.


A heart rate refers to the number of times the heart beats every minute. The average heart rate has a range and is dependent on various factors, especially age and level of physical fitness. Tachycardia and bradycardia are two conditions resulting in abnormally fast and meager heart rates, respectively. The reasons for their occurrence depend on several underlying medical conditions in addition to other systemic or external disturbances. Both conditions need to be diagnosed and treated. Treatment depends on the severity and onset of the disease. The main aim of the treatment is to bring down the heart rate to the average level according to age. Living a lifestyle full of regular exercise and a healthy diet is a key to maintaining the heart rate at normal levels and keeping any cardiovascular condition at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions


How To Determine Resting Heart Rate?

Resting heart rate is calculated best in the morning or when the person is relaxed. It is usually calculated by counting the pulse on the wrist for one minute. It can also be done for 15 seconds and then multiply it by four.


How Is Resting Heart Rate Controlled?

Heart rate is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which are branches of the autonomic nervous system. During stressful conditions, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases epinephrine and norepinephrine to accelerate the heart rate. 
One way to lower heart rate is to practice mindful breathing exercises. Slow inhalation for five seconds, followed by slow exhalation for 15 seconds daily, can lower the resting heart rate.


Does Resting Heart Rate Change With Age?

Yes, resting heart rate changes with age as age is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. A high resting heart rate is linked with various heart conditions due to changes in the blood pressure and walls of the blood vessels. Studies show a high resting heart rate with progressing age.


How Is Maximum Heart Rate Calculated?

Max heart rate is the maximum number of beats per minute an individual’s heart can reach during all-out strenuous exercise. It is calculated by subtracting the age of the individual from 220. Heartrate reaching a number beyond the maximum heart rate can prove very dangerous and cause heart failure.


How To Calculate Resting Heart Rate?

The resting heart rate is the number of heartbeats when the person is not performing any physical activity and the body is completely relaxed. Resting heart rate is calculated best in the morning or when the person is relaxed. It is usually calculated by counting the pulse on the wrist for one minute. It can also be done for 15 seconds and then multiplied by four. A high resting heart rate could be indicative of underlying heart conditions.


What Is Target Heart Rate?

The target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate. The person's age is subtracted from 220 to calculate the maximum heart rate. For moderate-intensity physical activity, the target heart rate should be between 64 percent and 76 percent of the maximum heart rate. It is important to know the maximum heart rate as if the heart exceeds the maximum heart rate during any activity, it can be very dangerous.


What Should Be Target Heart Rate?

The target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate. The person's age is subtracted from 220 to calculate the maximum heart rate. Usually, athletes and individuals who are into sports activities keep track of their target heart rate. For moderate-intensity physical activity, the target heart rate should be between 64 percent and 76 percent of the maximum heart rate.
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Dr. Isaac Gana
Dr. Isaac Gana



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