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The maximum heart rate or HRmax is the highest heart rate an individual can safely achieve through exercise stress, and depends on age. The most accurate way of measuring HRmax is via a cardiac stress test. In such a test, the subject exercises for some 20 minutes, to make sure the effort is pure aerobic and the keeps going while the intensity of exercise is periodically increased, continuing until certain changes in heart function are detected in the EKG, at which point the subject is directed to stop.

A simple (but not very accurate) way to estimate the HRmax is to use the following formulas:

HRmax=220-Age (for men)


HRmax=230-Age (for women )

One might argue that the formula, strangely enough, does not accomodate for the general shape of the subject. It turns out this has little if any effect on the HRmax. The reason is the better condition the subject is in, the longer he can maintain the effort with lower heart rate, and the heart rate will not easily rise. A subject with low stamina will reach faster heart rate quickly, and will reach his HRmax, but will fail before the heart rate can rise above it.

If the heart rate rises above HRmax, usualld requires serious [[recovery]y the subject loses conciousness an

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