According to Stephen Roy of the Universtity of Pittsburgh, when several popular formulas for calculating maximum heart rate (MHR) are compared statistically, some formulas are better suited to one gender or activity level than others. Achieving your MHR is very strenuous; its determination by estimation is more practical and, for some, safer. MHR is useful because ideal exercise exertion for the sake of health and athletic conditioning can be described as a range of maximum heart rate percentages.
For average males and the sedentary, calculate the MHR with the formula 220 - age.
For women, calculate the MHR with the formula 208 - 0.7xage.
For fit males, use the formula 205 - age/2.