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Friday Fitness: New Target Heart Rate Formula For Women

For the past 40 years, the standard heart rate zone guidelines had been based on studies conducted solely on men. Ohio State University Medical Center cardiologist Martha Gulati has found that women have a different exercise capacity that should be measured using a gender specific formula. A target heart rate zone can help you determine how hard you should be working during aerobic exercise.


Gulati’s study recruited 5,437 women in the Chicago area 30 and older and followed them for over 20 years. Her team conducted stress tests to find that women’s peak heart rates are generally a bit lower than men of the same age. So, she set out to create a more female-friendly equation. Granted the new equation requires a little more math than the previous autonomous model.

Here is a nice graphic courtesy of USA Today to help explain the new formula versus the standard guideline:


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