It's that time of year again (November).
A trail of tears follows me as I move my beloved golf clubs from the attached garage to the storage shed -- where my clubs will gather dust until the snow melts sometime in March or April (or, God forbid, May).
So what does that annual trek of sadness have to do with heart rates?
Well, since I always walk when I play golf, and I typically play 2-3 rounds of golf per week, that's 3,200 to 4,800 calories that I need to burn elsewhere during the winter months (1,600 calories burned per 18-holes according to the Activities Calorie Calculator).
While I do manage to burn some of the calories cutting wood and shoveling off the walks and skating rink, the sub-zero winter temperatures force me to make up for the bulk of my no-golf-calorie-burning on my elliptical machine.
So every year about this time I have to go online to find a calculator to calculate my new target heart rate (changes with age) before I start the 6-month routine of simulating the act of strolling green fairways.
This year I thought, "Wait a minute! I build calculators for a living. Why not make a heart rate calculator for the website so I never have hunt one down each year?"
So on November 14, 2012, that's what I did.
The calculator on this page combines the following five calculators into one -- since they all use the same basic inputs:
If you've ever tried to look up the formula for calculating maximum heart rate, I'm sure you discovered there are a host of different formulas available. After much research, here are the two I decided on:
|MHR Formulas Used By Calculator|
|Women||206 - (0.88 * age)|
|Men||205.8 - (0.685 * age)|
If you don't have a heart rate monitor handy, you can measure your heart rate by pressing your index and middle fingers against your neck -- on either side of your wind pipe -- and then counting the number of pulses you feel within a 1-minute time period.
Note that a common shortcut to keeping track of your heart rate while exercising or performing a strenuous activity, is to simply count the number of heart beats during a ten-second time period, and then use mental math to multiply that result by 6 (number of ten-second periods in one minute).
For example, if you count 22 beats in ten seconds, your heart rate would be 132 beats per minute (20 x 6 = 120 plus 2 x 6 = 12).
Lucky for me my elliptical machine has a built-in heart monitor. I don't know about you, but I'm terrible at mental math when I'm frantically gasping for more air.
For the most part I built this calculator using the formulas and charts I found listed on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_rate. So please let me know if you find any issues with the formulas and charts listed there.
With that, let's use the heart rate calculator to calculate your maximum, target, and training zone rates, as well as which health category you fall into based on your age and RHR.
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Age: Enter your current age.
Gender: Select Male or Female.
Average resting heart rate: Before you get out of bed in the morning, and prior to any physical exertion, count the number of times your heart beats during a 1-minute time period. Repeat for several mornings and enter the average here. Note that you can feel your heart beat by pressing your index finger (or any finger except thumb) on your neck, just to either side of your wind pipe.
Intensity level: Select your desired level of intensity. The percentages represent a target percentage of your maximum heart rate. Most resources I studied recommended target rates between 50% and 85% of your maximum -- hence the 65% default setting.
Include Heart Rate Training Zone Chart: Place a checkmark in this box will tell the heart rate calculator to include a custom training zone heart rate chart with the results. Note that the chart will be created using the Zoladz method of creating exercise zones.
Maximum heart rate: Based on your age and gender, and the MHR formulas listed above the calculator, this is your estimated maximum heart rate (MHR) in beats per minute (BPM). Note that another of many methods for calculating MHR is simply MHR = 220 - age. With so many MHR formulas available be sure to consult with a qualified medical physician to assist you with calculating your maximum heart rate.
Heart rate reserve: This is the difference between your calculated maximum heart rate and your resting heart rate.
Target heart rate, classic method: Based on your entries, this is your target heart rate without factoring in your specific resting heart rate. The formula used by the heart rate calculator is THR = ((MHR - 70) * % intensity) + 70.
Target heart rate, Karvonen method: Based on your entries, this is your target heart rate after factoring in your resting heart rate. The Karvonen formula this result is based on is THR = ((MHR - RHR) * % intensity) + RHR;
Resting heart rate health rating: Based on your age, resting heart rate, and the charts located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_rate, this is the category your average resting heart rate falls within. Note that if your age and/or resting heart rate fall outside of the chart, this field will display N/A.
Printer Friendly Training Zone Chart button: If you checked the box to include the chart in the results, clicking this button will open the chart in a printer friendly window.