According to the American Heart Association, pulse or heart rate charts show the average range of target heart rate and maximum heart rate by age. Pulse rate charts are in beats per minute and give goals to reach during moderate activity. If pulse rate reaches the maximum heart rate range, it could be dangerous.
During moderate activity, heart rate should reach 50-69 percent of the maximum pulse rate. During intense physical activity, heart rate reaches 70-90 percent of maximum heart rate. The American Heart Association figures maximum heart rate by subtracting age from 220. Taking blood pressure medications may require target and maximum pulse rate to be determined by a doctor rather than by age.
Heart rate that reaches or exceeds the recommended pulse rate may be an indicator of straining too hard while exercising. The American Heart Association recommends keeping pulse rate at the low end of the target range, about 50 percent, for the first two weeks of an exercise program before slowly increasing up to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate. People with a cardiac condition, those who engage in cardiac rehab, or take cardiac or blood pressure medication should contact a physician to see what exercises are recommended for the condition before beginning an exercise regimen.