The maximum heart rate (HRmax) is the highest heart rate an individual can achieve without severe problems through exercise stress, and generally decreases with age. Since HRmax varies by individual, the most accurate way of measuring any single person’s HRmax is via a cardiac stress test.
In this test, a person is subjected to controlled physiologic stress (generally by treadmill) while being monitored by an ECG. The intensity of exercise is periodically increased until certain changes in heart function are detected on the ECG monitor, at which point the subject is directed to stop. Typical duration of the test ranges ten to twenty minutes.
Adults who are beginning a new exercise regimen are often advised to perform this test only in the presence of medical staff due to risks associated with high heart rates. For general purposes, a formula is often employed to estimate a person’s maximum heart rate. However, these predictive formulas have been criticized as inaccurate because they generalized population-averages and usually focus on a person’s age. It is well-established that there is a “poor relationship between maximal heart rate and age” and large standard deviations around predicted heart rates
Max Heart Rate By Age
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