According to the American Heart Association the maximum heart rate (MHR) is the upper limit of what your heart can safely beat. The MHR is determined by subtracting your age from 220. For example if you’re 45 years old your maximum heart rate would be 175 beats per minute (bpm).
The American Heart Association recommends exercising within 50 to 85 percent of your MHR. This target heart rate zone will help improve your cardiovascular fitness and reduce your risk of heart disease.
While the MHR formula is a starting point to help you exercise safely it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not an exact science. Your MHR can vary based on a number of factors including your fitness level medications you’re taking and how you’re feeling that day.
heart rate generally starts to decline around the age of 40. This is due to a number of factors including a decrease in the size and strength of the heart a decline in the responsiveness of the heart to nervous system signals and a decrease in the production of hormones that help to regulate heart rate.
Even if your maximum heart rate is declining you can still maintain or even improve your cardiovascular fitness by exercising at a lower intensity for a longer period of time. In fact research has shown that regular exercise can help to slow the aging process and improve heart health even for those who are genetically predisposed to heart disease.
If you’re not sure how to start exercising safely and effectively talk to your doctor or a certified personal trainer. They can help you create a personalized exercise plan that’s right for you.
Why does max heart rate decrease with age?
The main reason why max heart rate decreases with age is because the heart muscle itself becomes less efficient at pumping blood as we age.
Additionally the blood vessels themselves stiffen and become less elastic making it harder for blood to flow freely.