What Should Your Heart Rate Be During Exercise?

What Should Your Heart Rate Be During Exercise?

Imagine your heart is like a little engine, and when you exercise, it revs up. But how fast should it go? 
Too slow, and you might not get the benefits. Too fast, and it can be risky. So, let’s find that sweet spot – the perfect heart rate for exercise. 
We’ll keep it simple and clear so you’ll know exactly what your heart should be up to when working out, even if you’re on hospital and healthcare mats. 
Knowing your heart’s rhythm can make your workouts safer and more effective, whether walking, jogging, or dancing. So, whether walking, jogging, or dancing, knowing your heart’s rhythm can make your activities safer and more effective.
So, let’s dive in and discover the right pace for a healthier you!

Recommended Heart Rate During Exercise

Your target heart rate during exercise depends on various factors, including your age, fitness level, and exercise goals. One standard method to estimate your target heart rate is to use a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR). 

The MHR can be estimated using the formula 220 minus your age, although it has limitations and may not be accurate for everyone.

A commonly recommended target heart rate range for moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is typically 50% to 70% of your MHR. For vigorous-intensity exercise, the target range is often 70% to 85% of your MHR. Here’s a general breakdown based on age and intensity:

1. Moderate-intensity exercise (50-70% of MHR)

Moderate-intensity exercise is when you’re working your body but not too strenuous. It’s like a brisk walk where your heart beats faster but not super-fast. 

Your heart rate during this exercise should be between half and three-fourths of the fastest it can beat.

Imagine your heart has a top speed, like a car. You can use a simple math trick to find this top speed: subtract your age from 220. This gives you an estimate of your heart’s maximum speed. 

If you’re 30, this number would be 190 beats per minute (BPM). Now, for moderate-intensity exercise, you want your heart to go at about half of this speed (95 BPM) up to three-fourths of this speed (133 BPM).

Moderate-intensity exercise

This kind of exercise is like taking a brisk walk, riding a bike not too fast, or doing housework where you break a little sweat but can still chat with a friend without huffing and puffing. 

It’s good for your health because it helps your heart and lungs become more robust and burns calories, which can help with weight control.

Moderate-intensity exercise is an excellent choice for most people because it’s not too tough on your body, and you can do it for a longer time. 

You can make it a routine without feeling too tired or sore. Here are some examples of moderate-intensity exercises you can try:

⦁ Brisk Walking

Take a walk at a pace where you feel your heart beating faster, but you can still carry on a conversation without being out of breath.


Ride your bike comfortably, not too fast or slow, so your heart rate stays in the moderate zone.

⦁ Swimming

Swim at a pace where you can maintain a steady rhythm and breathe comfortably.

⦁ Dancing

Enjoy some dancing, like a lively dance party, where you’re moving and grooving but not entirely out of breath.


Spend time tending to your garden to get your heart rate up.

⦁ Light Jogging

If you’re up for it, try a light jog, but remember to stay in the moderate-intensity zone.

⦁ Aerobics

Join an aerobics class or follow along with an aerobics video that only pushes you a little.
Remember, moderate-intensity exercise aims to get your heart pumping faster, make you feel warmer, and breathe a little more complex, but you should still be able to talk comfortably. 
It’s a healthy way to stay active and improve your fitness without overdoing it. 
So, pick an activity you enjoy and aim for at least 2 hours to keep your heart and body in good shape.

2. Vigorous-Intensity Exercise (70-85% of MHR)

 Vigorous-Intensity Exercise

Vigorous-intensity exercise is when you work your body hard, like running fast or doing something intense. Your heart beats super-fast during this exercise, between 70% and 85% of its fastest speed.
Imagine your heart is like a car with a top speed. To determine this maximum speed, you can do a simple math trick: subtract your age from 220. 
For example, if you’re 30, this number would be 190 beats per minute (BPM). For vigorous-intensity exercise, you want your heart to race at about 70% (133 BPM) to 85% (161 BPM) of this top speed.
Vigorous-intensity exercise is like running fast, playing a challenging basketball game, or doing hard workouts that make you breathe hard and sweat a lot. It’s great for your health because it makes your heart and lungs super strong, burns lots of calories, and can help you get in shape faster.
This kind of exercise can be more challenging because it pushes your body harder, so you might be unable to keep it up for as long as moderate-intensity exercise. But it can give you significant benefits in a shorter time. Here are some examples of vigorous-intensity exercises you can try:

⦁ Running

Sprinting or running fast can get your heart racing at a vigorous level.

⦁ Jumping Rope

Jumping rope quickly can be a vigorous workout that’s fun and effective.

⦁ Swimming Sprints

If you’re a good swimmer, doing laps as fast as possible for short bursts can be a vigorous workout.

⦁ Playing Sports

Games like soccer, basketball, or tennis can make you breathe super hard and count as vigorous exercise.

⦁ Mountain Climbing

Climbing steep trails or mountains can be challenging and raise your heart rate.

⦁ Spinning

Riding a stationary bike in a high-intensity cycling class can be a vigorous workout.
Vigorous-intensity exercise is excellent for improving your fitness and challenging your body. But it’s important to remember that it can be challenging, so if you’re starting, it’s a good idea to build up your fitness gradually. 
You should also ensure you’re healthy enough for this level of exercise, especially if you have any medical conditions or are new to intense workouts.
Aim for at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week, mixed in with some moderate-intensity training. This can help keep your heart and body strong and healthy. 
And remember to listen to your body – if you feel too tired or out of breath, take a break, and don’t push yourself too hard.


Finally, finding the correct heart rate during exercise is like discovering the secret key to a healthier you. Knowing your heart’s sweet spot is the way to go, whether you’re aiming for a steady jog or a brisk walk. 
It’s not about being the fastest or the strongest; it’s about being smart and safe. So, keep that heart in check, stay within your target zone, and you’ll reap the rewards of better fitness. 
Remember, it’s not just about the speed; it’s about your health and how your heart helps you get there. So, go on, keep moving, and keep your heart happy!