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A new target-heart-rate formula for women, by women


First we discarded the notion that children could be treated as miniature adults. Now cardiologist Martha Gulati, MD, of Northwestern University would like to emphasize that women-when it comes to physiology-are not small men.

Gulati has generated a new formula for estimating the peak heart rate a woman should attain during exercise: 206 minus 88 percent of age. Under the old formula, based on studies of men and used for almost four decades, that number was figured to be 220 minus age.

The new formula, which yields a lower number (at least until age 105), should be encouraging to women who have had trouble reaching their target heart rate. It was based on a study of 5,437 healthy women ages 35 and older.

Gulati said in a press release that the new formula gives physicians a more accurate tool for understanding if women respond normally or abnormally to exercise:

"If it's abnormal, that's a marker for a higher risk of death Maybe we need to talk about whether you exercise enough and what we need to do to get it into the normal range.

We need to keep studying women to get data applicable to women It's important to not get complacent that we have data on men and assume women must be the same. They're not."

Gulati's study appears online June 28 in the journal Circulation.

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