Athletes like to compute their maximum heart rate (mhr) in order to know whether their workouts are too intense, not enough, or just right. Many novices use the standard formula (MHR = 220 minus age) but this is just an average, individual rates vary widely (my MHR, recorded during a 5K race, is 200bpm). After a long discussion about the formula on an ultrarunning forum, I responded with the following:
Recent posts got me to wondering where the dastardly and deceptive MHR formula came from so I did some research, trying to track it back to its original source. This has taken me most of the past two days requiring translations from 7 languages and tracing 437 footnotes and citations. I finally found the original Ugaritic text from the courts of King Karl during the Sheehan era and was shocked to find out that the original formula was valid, but was corrupted soon after by a copyist's error by a dyslexic monk (Thelonius) who transposed the formula, thus creating all the confusion.
The original formula, by the esteemed and comely mathematician Mythagorous, was not designed to compute MHR at all. Her goal was to achieve perpetual youthfulness and she searched the known world on foot (she was one-legged) to find the secret. From her research she uncovered an astonishing and infallible formula which was subsequently lost to the world due to Thelonius' foolishness (wine was involved), and only now has been recovered, in what undoubtedly will prove to be a Nobel-prize worthy effort of historical research by your 'umble correspondent.
Here is the original formula, absolutely accurate and infallible or double your money back (S&H charges may apply):
220 minus your Maximum Heart Rate = your real age.
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