Back in April, I gave you an equation that could be used to determine your individual target heart rate. At right, you see the first portion of that equation. Recent research coming out of Northwestern University in Chicago suggests that the numbers need to be adjusted slightly to accommodate the difference between men and women. According to the team at Northwestern, women should replace the above with 220-(AGE X 88%). Why? The original equation is based on tests conducted solely on men, which means the original equation predicts a slightly higher-than-necessary target heart rate for women.
"Women are not small men," says a cardiologist in the article, and that is essentially what the team at Northwestern reiterated as they followed 5,437 healthy females in Chicago over a period of 16 years. Many of those females expressed having difficulty reaching their THR, and that's probably because it was actually a bit too high. So ladies, I suggest you take a minute to refigure your target heart rate based on the adjustment above. See if it makes a difference. And really, it never hurts to be as accurate as possible.