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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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General Heart Rate Monitor Usage - Polar

How to determine your maximum heart rate?

You can define your maximum heart rate (HRmax) by:
1. Having it measured clinically in a maximal exercise stress test
2. Having it tested in the field conditions by an experienced coach or exercise physiologist
3. Calculating it by age-based HRmax formulas
4. Use the HRmax-p definition in Polar S-series heart rate monitors


Measured HRmax

The most accurate way of determining your individual maximum heart rate is to have it clinically tested (in a treadmill or bicycle stress test) by a cardiologist or exercise physiologist. You can also measure HRmax in the field conditions in time trials supervised by an experienced coach or exercise physiologist. If you are over the age of 35, overweight, have been sedentary for several years, or have a history of heart disease in your family, clinical testing is recommended.

Predicted HRmax

  • Age-based HRmax
    There is a mathematical formula that allows you to predict your HRmax. It is called the "age-based formula". The age-based HRmax formula can come in very handy when you cannot take the physician-supervised stress test.

    220 - your age = age-based HRmax

    For example a 35-year-old person's HRmax would be: 220 - 35 = 185 beats per minute (bpm)

    This formula applies only to adults. The generally accepted error in the age-predicted formula is ± 10-12 bpm, which is due to different inherited characteristics and exercise training. If you want to exercise at your most individual and effective levels, your HRmax should be measured.

  • HRmax-p definition
    Polar S-series heart rate monitors use the HRmax-p definition to estimate your maximum heart rate.
    HRmax-p is individually calculated and thus more accurate than the commonly used formula of "220 - your age", especially for very fit people.

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