Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | November 17, 2008

Determine Your MHR with a 1 Mile Walking Test

Greetings, in my last post, I introduced the concept of the SubMax HR Test as a way to improve the accuracy of your Heart Rate Training Zone calculations.  One such test is the 1 mile walking test.  It provides you with a means to more accurately determine your maximum heart rate (MHR).   To get started, determine whether you are in Poor, Average or Excellent shape.  Consider yourself in Excellent shape if you walk or run at least five times a week.  You are in Average shape if you participate in aerobic exercise 3 times a week.  As you might have already guessed, you are in Poor shape if you don’t exercise at all!  To perform the test, you are going to walk one mile as fast as you can (but remember, always stop exercising if you feel you may be overdoing it).  The easiest way to do this is to use the track at a high school or college.   It should be a quarter-mile track so you will complete four laps for the test.  Use your heart rate monitor to determine your average heart rate for the last lap.  To determine your maximum heart rate, add this average heart rate to the number that best matches your current physical condition:

  • Poor (+40)
  • Average (+50)
  • Excellent (+60)

For example, if you are in Average physical condition and your average heart rate on the last lap of your 1 mile walking test was 130, your MHR is 180.  While not perfect, this should be a fairly close estimate.  In addition, this test can be used to estimate your VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake), but I’ll discuss that in a future post.

NEXT POST – November 20, 2008

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