Researchers at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago recently made an announcement that is likely to be significant for women’s fitness – it would seem that the old formula used to calculate women’s maximum heart rate, may be inaccurate and may be too high.
The maximum heart rate formula that athletes use to pace themselves and also monitor their progress is apparently not applicable to women whose maximum heart rate may actually be lower than the formula indicates.
This could explain why women are often seen to struggle to achieve heart rate targets that treadmills indicate and personal trainers insist should be aimed for.
While the old formula used for decades subtracts a person’s age from 220, the new one for women is 206 minus 88 percent of a woman’s age.
65 to 85% of the estimated maximum heart rate is recommended however this may be set to change for women with these recent findings.
When exercising, the heart rate monitor is used to tell you if you have reached the desired heart rate, for aerobic acidity which helps in fat burning and increasing endurance. Using the old formula, for a 40 year old woman, 153 beats a minute would be the target rate of 85%, whereas using the revised formula, that target rate of 85% would be achieved by 145 beats a minute.