Recovery Heart Rate

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most significant but preventable offenses against modern health. Enhanced Medical Care focuses on optimizing health and wellness by making suggestions to protect patients against heart disease on many fronts. Exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle interventions greatly affect how our hearts function. Our Personalized Nutritional Evaluation looks at the balance of micronutrients within your body that play a role in keeping your heart healthy. An exercise program also significantly helps to improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the heart muscle.

The less efficient your heart is, the more it has to beat per minute to get your blood where it needs to go. Regular cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart muscle. A stronger heart muscle allows your heart to increase the volume of blood it pumps out with every beat. A great way to measure this cardiovascular improvement is by calculating your Recovery Heart Rate, a measure of your cardiac efficiency.

Your Recovery Heart Rate, the speed at which your heart rate returns to normal after exercise, can indicate physical cardiac condition and the risk of certain diseases. For instance, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, people whose heart rate recovery time is long are at a higher risk of death than people with shorter recovery times regardless of physical condition or other risk factors. According to the National Emergency Medicine Association, measuring heart rate recovery rates is one way to tell whether an exercise program is effective. People in better cardiovascular condition tend to have lower heart rates during peak exercise, and return to their resting heart rate more quickly after physical activity. Before embarking on a new exercise regimen, record your resting heart rate as a baseline and see how it improves over time with your new fitness efforts.

Check your fitness level by measuring your heart rate recovery time!

Use this calculator only if you are physically active on a regular basis. If you’re just starting an exercise program, contact Dr. Costa to determine a safe target heart rate.

To calculate your heart rate recovery time, you’ll need:

  • A watch or clock with a second hand
  • Pencil and paper
  • A place to exercise

Step 1: Find Your Target Heart Rate

Use the chart below to find the target heart rate for your age group.

Age Target Heart Rate*  Zone During Exercise (Heartbeats per Minute)

  • 20-29 years old: 120-160 beats/ minute
  • 30-39 years old: 114-152 beats/ minute
  • 40-49 years old: 108-144 beats/ minute
  • 50-59 years old: 102-136 beats/ minute
  • 60-69 years old: 96-128 beats/ minute
  • 70-79 years old: 90-120 beats/ minute
  • 80-89 years old: 84-112 beats/ minute
  • 90-99 years old: 78-104 beats/ minute
  • 100 years old or older: 72-96 beats/ minute

*Target heart rates are based on 60%-80% of estimated maximum heart rates (220 minus age).

Now, practice finding your pulse point and calculating your heart rate:

Place one or two fingertips (not a thumb) on the opposite wrist, just below the base of your thumb. Count the number of heartbeats you feel in 10 seconds. Multiply that number by six to get your heart rate per minute.

Step 2: Complete Your Fitness Activity

The goal in this step is to increase your heart rate, so choose an activity that’s going to get your heart pumping. Go for a brisk walk or run around the block, jump rope, use an elliptical trainer, or do any activity that will increase your heart rate. While you’re exercising, check your heart rate frequently. You’re aiming to hit your target heart rate from the chart above. Once your heartbeat is within the target range, stop exercising and write down two measurements:

1. Your heart rate immediately after stopping

2. Your heart rate 2 minutes later

Step 3: Calculate Your Heart Rate Recovery

Subtract your 2-minute heart rate from the heart rate you took immediately after exercising.  The faster your heart rate recovers (or slows down ) the fitter and healthier your heart.

If the difference between the two numbers is:

  • Less than 22:  Your biological age is slightly older than your calendar age.
  • 22-52:  Your biological age is about the same as your calendar age.
  • 53-58:  Your biological age is slightly younger than your calendar age.
  • 59-65:  Your biological age is moderately younger than your calendar age.
  • 66 or more:  Your biological age is a lot younger than your calendar age.

If you have any questions about how to calculate your resting heart rate or you would like to learn more about the Enhanced Medical Care Wellness Program, please contact us! We look forward to hearing from you. 

We are thrilled to be able to support patients around the world. Within our home state of Massachusetts, the majority of our patients come to us from:
Boston, Brookline, Wellesley, Newton, Concord, Sudbury, Dover, Hingham, Weston, Cohasset, Needham, Chestnut Hill, Marshfield, Sherborn, Lexington, Cambridge


To your health!