Maximum heart rate calculation
Age
years
Maximum heart rate
bpm
Resting heart rate calculation
Do you know your resting heart rate?
Yes
Resting heart rate
bpm

Welcome to the heart rate calculator, the tool for you if you want to find your heart rate zones, whether or not you have a healthy heart rate, or get your resting heart rate chart. That's not all! Ever wanted to answer the question "How to calculate my heart rate maximum?" or "What is a good resting heart rate?" What's that we hear you say, you've never wanted anything else (except maybe to find out what the average resting heart rate is)? Well, we're glad, so jump right in!

How to calculate heart rate maximum?

Before we get into the thick of this heart rate calculator, we should discuss the information you need to provide it with to get your heart rate zones and find out if you have a healthy resting heart rate. The first bit of information you need to give is your age. We use this to calculate your heart rate maximum with the Oakland non-linear formula:

Heart rate maximum = 192 - (0.007 * age2)

We chose this formula because it is one of the most accurate formulas around. To compare, the commonly used Haskell & Fox equation, Heart rate maximum = 220 - age, was, according to one of its creators, "never supposed to be an absolute guide to rule people's training." But you can use whatever formula you wish; take a look at our heart rate maximum calculator and input whatever number you want into the Maximum heart rate field.

There is no easy way to get a 100% accurate answer to the question "How to calculate heart rate maximum?" with an equation - it varies too much from person to person. Scientists currently think it depends on your age, sex, BMI, genetics, activity levels, to name but a few (the average heart rate maximum within an Olympic level rowing team was found to vary from 160 - 220, so it really does vary a lot!) The only way to know for sure is to get a maximum heart rate test from a physician. If you have received a test, input that number into the Maximum heart rate field.

Resting heart rate

The second, and final, piece of information you need to give the heart rate calculator is your resting heart rate. This is how many times per minute your heart beats when you are just sitting around, doing not much. You could even have a slice of pizza. There are a couple of other conditions you need to meet to make sure the measurement you make is as accurate as possible:

  • Don't measure your resting heart rate within two hours of exercise or a stressful event as your heart rate may still be elevated;
  • If you have had caffeine, wait an hour as it can cause heart palpitations; and
  • The measurements shouldn't be performed if you have been sitting or standing for an extended time, as these can alter your resting heart rate.

It is, however, usually enough to sit down, just on your phone or with a book, for 5 minutes before you measure. It is also good practice to take a few measurements at once, as mistakes can be easily made. This will allow you to find your average resting heart rate, which will be a more accurate measure. How do you measure your resting heart rate then? Well, it's not too difficult, all you need is your hand (or someone else's) and a stopwatch:

  1. Take your index and middle fingers.
  2. Find your pulse. You will find it by pressing lightly on either your wrist, under the base of the thumb, or on the side of your neck just under the jawbone.
  3. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds, and multiply the result by 4 to get your beats per minute. The calculator has this function built-in by selecting No to the Do you know your resting heart rate field.

You can, of course, count your heart beats for the full minute (or for any other length of time). The longer the time (up to a minute), the more accurate the heart rate will be, but counting out a minute every time can be, well, time-consuming. Time is money, after all.

What is a good resting heart rate?

Well, that's the tricky part done - you've provided the heart rate calculator with all of the information that it needs, and now you're ready to reap the rewards. First up is a quick analysis of your resting heart rate. We know that a lot of people want to answer the question "What is a good resting heart rate?", which is what we aim to do here. The general rule is that, the lower your heart rate, the better. This is because your heart is stronger and needs fewer beats to push the same amount of blood around your body.

Take this measurement with a pinch of salt though! While it generally holds that the lower your heart rate, the better, recent studies suggest that there is enormous variability in the average resting heart rate from person to person. This means that you shouldn't worry too much if you are far from the average resting heart rate of 65.6 ±7.7 bpm, as long as you're living a healthy life, full of exercise, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and enough sleep.

This doesn't mean there aren't resting heart rates to worry about. The healthy range is 60 - 100 bpm. If you are above this range and haven't done any exercise in an hour or recently taken any drugs or medicine, like alcohol and nicotine, consult a doctor immediately. The same is true if your heart rate is below 60 bpm, except if you lead a very athletic lifestyle. Repeat the measurements first, as errors can be made. Our calculator will tell you this automatically.

Resting heart rate chart

Age range Athlete Excellent Good Above average Average Below average Poor
18 - 25 49 - 55 56 - 61 62 - 65 66 - 69 70 - 73 74 - 81 81+
26 - 35 49 - 54 55 - 61 62 - 65 66 - 70 71 - 74 75 - 81 81+
36 - 45 50 - 56 57 - 62 63 - 66 67 - 70 71 - 75 76 - 82 83+
46 - 55 50 - 57 58 - 63 64 - 67 68 - 71 72 - 76 77 - 83 84+
55 - 65 51 - 56 57 - 61 62 - 67 68 - 71 72 - 75 76 - 81 82+
65+ 50 - 55 56 - 61 62 - 65 66 - 69 70 - 73 74 - 79 80+

Heart rate zones

We all know that exercise is great for us. It reduces our risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce your blood pressure, and keep you from having a heart attack. What you might not know is that your heart is a muscle, and, like every other muscle, the intensity with which you exercise it will change how it develops. Going for a long time with low intensity is much different from a quick burst of high intensity. This is where heart rate zones come in. Heart rate zones are ranges of beats per minute, based on your heart rate reserve. Heart rate reverse is a found by subtracting your resting heart rate from your heart rate maximum:

Heart Rate Reserve = Heart Rate Maximum - Resting Heart Rate

Your heart rate reserve can be found in the advanced mode of the calculator. The ranges of each heart rate zone is a percentage of your reserve plus your resting heart rate:

Percentage you're aiming for in beats per minute = Percentage you're aiming for as a percentage * Heart rate Reserve + Resting Heart Rate

Four heart rate zones are commonly used:

Fat burning zone (60-70%)

As a low-intensity zone, your muscles can still get plenty of oxygen, which results in your body learning how to better use this oxygen, pump blood more efficiently, and use fat for energy.

Aerobic zone (70-80%)

This is where your body will improve its cardiovascular fitness the most. Your body is still getting a lot of oxygen, which will enhance your stamina. Your muscles will also get stronger all over your body.

Anaerobic zone (80-90%)

The anaerobic zone is where your muscles are working so quickly that oxygen cannot get to them quickly enough. This leads to the production of lactic acid, which begins to build up. Training in this zone improves your anaerobic stamina.

Red line zone (90-100%)

Your body approaches its maximum capacity in the red line zone. You can only maintain it for a few seconds, maybe about 10 seconds maximum, and it helps build your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which will make you quicker in the long run.

Małgorzata Koperska, MD and Jack Bowater