Put on your workout gear and get your heart rate up to burn calories and improve your fitness. Different pulse rate levels are ideal depending on your personal level of fitness and exercise goals. Once you know your heart's maximum heart rate, you can figure out your ideal pulse rate ranges for improving heart health, losing weight and improving aerobic conditioning.
Measure your resting heart rate, in beats per minute, before you begin to exercise. You can do this by placing your index finger on the inside of your wrist until you can feel your heart beat and then counting the number of times that your heart beats in one minute. Most adult women have a pulse rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute, though athletes in top condition can have rates as low as 40 beats per minute.
Calculate the approximate maximum heart rate for someone your age. The formula for maximum heart rate is the number 220 minus your age; for example, a 30-year-old woman has an approximate maximum heart rate of 220 - 30 = 190 beats per minute.
Exercise at 50 to 60 percent of your heart rate to maintain heart health with light exercise. For instance, if your maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute, then exercising at a pulse rate between 95 and 114 beats per minute will benefit your heart with minimal exertion. If you're starting a workout program, you should become comfortable exercising at this heart rate before moving on to more strenuous exercises.
Increase your heart rate to between 60 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate to increase your rate of burning fat and calories. This corresponds to a pulse rate between 114 and 133 beats per minute for the average 30-year-old female.
Pump up your heart rate to between 70 and 80 percent of your maximum rate to improve your aerobic workout. For our 190 beats-per-minute example exerciser, aerobic benefits increase at a heart rate of around 133 to 152 beats per minute.
Increase your heart rate to 80 percent of your maximum or greater to build muscle, improve conditioning and augment endurance. This type of high-intensity workout can be stressful on the body, so be sure to only exercise at this level if you are an experienced exerciser and have a clean bill of heart health from your doctor.
Dan Howard is a sports and fitness aficionado who holds a master's degree in psychology. Howard's postgraduate research on the brain and learning has appeared in several academic books and peer-reviewed psychology journals.