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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Formula for Females for Maximal Workout Heart Rate

A new formula for women to calculate their maximal heart rates for workouts has been put forth by researchers at Northwestern in a study published in Circulation this week. This new formula was based on a study of 5500 healthy women who took treadmill tests in 1992 and who were followed for mortality. This formula is the first which used women to look at how heart rates with exercise were related to mortality rates, and is therefore likely to be much more accurate than the usual formula for peak heart rate which exercise professionals had used (220 minus age). The new formula, 206 - 88% of age, is a little harder to calculate. For example, for a 50 year old woman, the new formula's peak heart rate is 206 - (.88x50) = 162. If one uses 65% - 85% of the maximal heart rate of 162 for the target heart rate range for workouts, a 50 year old woman should be able to get to 138 as she becomes more fit but would not reduce, and might increase, her cardiovascular mortality by pushing herself further than that.

This study provides valuable guidance for women as they endeavor to become fit and will be a relief to women who have been trying to push themselves to the old formula's upper limit target rate.

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