Author + information
- Received April 18, 2000
- Revision received July 24, 2000
- Accepted September 13, 2000
- Published online January 1, 2001.
- ↵*Reprint requests and correspondence: Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka, Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, Campus Box 354, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0354
We sought to determine a generalized equation for predicting maximal heart rate (HRmax) in healthy adults.
The age-predicted HRmaxequation (i.e., 220 − age) is commonly used as a basis for prescribing exercise programs, as a criterion for achieving maximal exertion and as a clinical guide during diagnostic exercise testing. Despite its importance and widespread use, the validity of the HRmaxequation has never been established in a sample that included a sufficient number of older adults.
First, a meta-analytic approach was used to collect group mean HRmaxvalues from 351 studies involving 492 groups and 18,712 subjects. Subsequently, the new equation was cross-validated in a well-controlled, laboratory-based study in which HRmaxwas measured in 514 healthy subjects.
In the meta-analysis, HRmaxwas strongly related to age (r = −0.90), using the equation of 208 − 0.7 × age. The regression equation obtained in the laboratory-based study (209 − 0.7 × age) was virtually identical to that obtained from the meta-analysis. The regression line was not different between men and women, nor was it influenced by wide variations in habitual physical activity levels.
1) A regression equation to predict HRmaxis 208 − 0.7 × age in healthy adults. 2) HRmaxis predicted, to a large extent, by age alone and is independent of gender and habitual physical activity status. Our findings suggest that the currently used equation underestimates HRmaxin older adults. This would have the effect of underestimating the true level of physical stress imposed during exercise testing and the appropriate intensity of prescribed exercise programs.
☆ This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland) awards AG-00847, AG-06537 and AG-13038.
- Received April 18, 2000.
- Revision received July 24, 2000.
- Accepted September 13, 2000.
- American College of Cardiology