Maximum Heart Rate Calculator
Enter your age and sex to calculate your maximum heart rate according to the most-popular formulas.
Calculating Maximum Heart Rate
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.
This reduction in maximum heart rate means that older hearts can't beat as fast, so less capacity is available. This is one of the many reasons people tend to decline in athletic ability as they grow older.
Difficulties & Interpretation
Note that none of the calculators is particularly reliable becasue of the assumption that everybody's maximum heart rate will not only decline similarly, but will also start from the same point. In reality 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, i.e. average maximum heart rate by age and gender, 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. They may also be useful where general guidance is given to a group, and it's not possible to conduct a proper max heart rate test for each individual in that group. If you are basing any training prescription on these calculations then proceed with caution and ensure your athletes understand the limitations.
Because of this unreliability it's not recommended to base training intensities on the results generated by this calculator when an accurate value is important.
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 those who are fans of gadgets, many heart rate monitors, such as those offered by Garmin and Polar, allow you to provide your maximum heart rate. This can then be used as a guide while training. Some attempt to automatically calculate your heart rate zones from this information, and some more sophisticated models may also use resting heart rate data to provide a more accurate estimate.
These devices also often keep a record of the max heart rate recorded during training. But be aware of data spikes, which are not uncommon. It may be better to look at an average heart rate over a period of intense exercise (30 seconds or so), to be sure you're not relying on an anomof a perioalous reading.
Using the calculator
Simply choose your sex, enter your age (up to 120 years old), and hit Calculate.
Maximum Heart Rate Formulas & Charts
The five formulas are described below. All give estimates of max heart rate in beats per minute (bpm):
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 suggested 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.
An examination of the 30 most-popular heart rate formulas, published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology in 2002, claims that the best maximum heart rate formula is provided by Inbar, 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 study on training-induced changed in maximum heart rate, 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.
» Guide to training by heart rate
» The Surprising History of the "HRmax=220-age" Equation (PDF of the Journal of Exercise Physiology that includes details of various formulas)
» Age-predicted Maximal Heart Rate Revisited (Tanaka, Monahan & Seals)
» Effect of Age and Other Factors on Maximal Heart Rate (Londeree & Moeschberger)
» Training induced changes in maximum heart rate (Whyte et al.)
» Normal cardiopulmonary responses during incremental exercise in 20- to 70-yr-old men (Inbar et al.)