“Are you working hard or hardly working?”

This is a question I would humorously ask my high school students on fitness days. They would be ecstatic to find out I am now asking myself the same question. My obvious response to them was always “Let’s put on a heart rate monitor and find out!” Funny how stuff always comes back around – my turn – I need to track my beats or ‘beats per minute’ as I exercise.

As I dug out my old heart rate monitor and decided to wake it back up into existence, I couldn’t help remembering all the sweat and intensity this device had monitored throughout my life. Memories of how I cursed at the watch when it pushed me further than I thought possible in my workouts. My goal began with 20 minutes in “the zone” and progressed up from there.  As an athlete back in the day, I might have worked out for an hour or two;  how I strived for those ‘target zone minutes’ as a measure and a motivator.

Most physical educators  know how to calculate target heart rates the old fashioned way using math, a pencil and a formula, I am no exception. But, what fun is that? I googled heart rate formulas, and specifically – Karvonen (the gold standard of HR formulas) and found this website which practically did everything for me, so I will share…

I went online to the SPARKPEOPLE website  –

– and used their very simple Karvonen target heart rate calculator to find my target heart rate (THR). By inserting my age and resting* heart rate I was able to view a table of  my individual heart rate percentages and the beats per minute (or THR). *(On this same page, there are also very easy instructions to find the resting heart rate.)

Target Heart Rate Results:
My heart rate ranges (in beats per minute)

55%: 120 bpm 75%: 140 bpm
60%: 125 bpm 80%: 145 bpm
65%: 130 bpm 85%: 150 bpm
70%: 135 bpm

From this chart, I can see the intensity I need to walk at to experience  greater health benefits in my workout. My goal is to raise my heart rate to 70%, which means I need to be at 135 bpm during my three minute intervals.

This makes me wonder “what does my heart rate get up to when I walk daily for exercise?”

Hmmm…there’s only one way to answer that question – let me grab my heart rate monitor and I am out the door!



Let's talk about that walk...

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