Four Charts to Help Monitor Your Pulse Rate

Pulse rate is the measure of heart beats per minute. It is typically used to determine the overall health and fitness. Learn the four charts here.

Each time the heart contracts to pump blood that is considered a heartbeat. Pulse rate is a measure of the number of heartbeats per unit of time and it is typically expressed as heartbeats per minute (BPM). It varies based on the body's requirement for oxygen, and as such the pulse rate is at its highest during periods of exercise and at its lowest during sleep.

Resting Pulse Rate

1. What Is Resting Pulse Rate?

Resting pulse/heart rate is the number of times that your heart beats per minute when you are at complete rest. It is a basic measure of your overall heart health and fitness level because it represents how much work your heart has to do when you are inactive.

If you have a good fitness level, your heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. This is characterized by fewer heartbeats per minute and a lower resting pulse rate. Based upon your age, there are resting heart rate standards that medical professionals use to gauge your health and fitness levels.

2. Resting Pulse Rate Chart

Table 1 shows the normalized ranges for resting pulse rate (BPM) based upon the age of the individual.

Table 1: Resting Heart Rate Chart


Beats Per Minute (BPM)

Newborns (0-3 months)


Infants (3-6 months)


Infants (6-12 months)


Children ages 1-10


Children over age 10 and adults


Well-conditioned athletes


Maximum Pulse Rate

1. What Is Maximum Pulse Rate?

Max heart/pulse rate is the highest number of heart beats that the heart contracts in a minute. Typically, Max HR is utilized as a measure of training intensity and to estimate the level of fitness. Max HR should be measured during physical activity to gauge whether the physical activity is sufficient to raise the heart rate and to make sure that the heart rate is staying within an acceptable range.

Max HR can be determined either by measuring the heart rate after completing physical activity on a treadmill (stress test) or using a standard formula that is based on age and sex. The stress test should be administered by a licensed clinical professional.

Below is the formula to determine Max HR based on the sex and age of the individual:

  • Max HR for Women = 226 - current age
  • Max HR for Men = 220 - current age

2. Maximum Pulse Rate Chart

Table 2 shows the Max HR Chart is based upon the formula above for both men and women.

Table 2: Maximum Heart Rate Chart


Maximum Heart Rate

20 years


30 years


35 years


40 years


45 years


50 years


55 years


60 years


65 years


70 years


Target Pulse Rate

1. What Is Target Pulse Rate?

Target pulse/heart rate is defined as the rate at which the heart pumps blood throughout the body during workouts in order to safely maximize the cardiovascular benefits from the activity.

The optimal target heart rate is approximately 50-85% of the maximum heart rate. Strenuous physical activities that cause the heart rate to become elevated above 85% of the Max HR may place people at risk for cardiovascular and orthopedic injuries. It is important to consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise regimen because strenuous physical activities can raise the pulse rate in excess of the target heart rate zone.

2. Target Pulse Rate Chart

Often the target heart rate is 50-85% of Max HR, so according to the formula (Max HR for men= 220-age), the target pulse rate for men is shown below.

Table 3: Target Heart Rate Zone Chart


Target Heart Rate Zone (50-85% Max HR)

20 years


30 years


35 years


40 years


45 years


50 years


55 years


60 years


65 years


70 years


By comparing your pulse rate during physical activity to the Target Pulse Rate Chart (Table 3), you can determine whether you should decrease or increase your workout intensity for the greatest cardiovascular benefits.

You should keep in mind that Target Pulse Rate is merely a guide because each person may respond differently to physical activity. It is more important to pay close attention to how you feel while you are exercising, specifically whether you are breathing harder or your heart is beating faster than you would expect, given the intensity of the activity as well as muscle fatigue.

3. Fitness Target Pulse Rate Zone

Target zone can be established for each exercise and it is used to determine whether the exercise is optimized for you. The target zone varies based on the intensity level of the exercises (Table 4).

Table 4: Fitness Target Heart Rate Zone

Levels of Exercises


Max HR (%)

Light Exercise

Maintenance for healthy heart

50% - 60%

Weight Loss

Burn fat and calories

60% - 70%

Base - Aerobic

Increase endurance and stamina

70% - 80%


Fitness conditioning, athletic training and muscle building

80% - 90%

Athletic - Elite

Athletic training and endurance

90% - 100%



What Causes Heavy Breathing?

Heavy breathing usually occurs after an intense workout, but sometimes this condition can also be a symptoms of a medical concern.

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