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The Calculator

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Description

Introduction

Our maximum heart rate calculator takes your age and sex and uses them to find and compare results from the most-popular maximum heart rate estimation formulas.

We present results from five popular formulas, all of which work on the basis that a person's maximum heart rate will decrease as they age.

Difficulties & Interpretation

Note that none of the calculators is particularly reliable since each individual's maximum heart rate will vary according to a variety of factors aside from age and sex, such as genetics and training history.

The results are probably most useful to demonstrate trends and to help indicate the types of result that might be expected so that erroneous results from tests, such as a spike from a heart rate monitor or a miscounted pulse rate, can be easily identified.

Because of this unreliability it's not recommended to base training intensities on the results generated by this calculator.

The best way to determine your maximum heart rate is to perform a test whilst wearing a heart rate monitor. We describe three test protocols in our guide to heart rate training.

Once you know your true maximum heart rate, you can use our Heart Rate Zones Calculator to establish suitable training intensities.

For even more information, take a look at Heart Rate Training by Benson & Connolly.

Using the calculator

Simply choose your sex, enter your age (up to 120 years old), and hit Calculate.

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How It Works

The five formulas are described below:

Age-Adjusted

Most people are familiar with the 220 - age calculation (which has an interesting history). This tends to be slightly more accurate for men than women, and the age-adjusted calculator here uses 226 - age for women.

Tanaka, Monahan & Seals

A paper published in The Journal of the American College Cardiology in 2001 by Tanaka, Monahan and Seals suggests that a good prediction of maximum heart rate is achieved with 208 - (0.7 × age). Their analysis showed that the reliability of the equation is not affected by sex or activity levels..

Londeree and Moeschberger

In 1982 Londeree and Moeschberger studied national-level athletes and derived several regression equations for determining maximum heart rate. Some of these take factors such as fitness level and continent into account. Two of these considered only age, the simplest of which is 206.3 - (0.711 × age). They found that max heart rate declined in both men and women with training.

Inbar

An examination of the 30 most-popular heart rate formulas, published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology in 2002, claims that the best is provided by Inbar (1994), whose formula is 205.8 - (0.685 × age). The same journal article also states that there is no acceptable method to estimate maximum heart rate.

Whyte et al.

Whyte et al.'s approach from 2008 claims that a different formula is more appropriate depending on whether we are considering male or female athletes. In this case the formula for men is 202 - (0.55 × age) and the formula for women is 216 - (1.09 × age). The authors point out that maximum heart rate is significantly lower in athletes than in sedentary people of the same age.

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