Mar 03

Karvonen Exercise Heart Rate Calculation

I did some more research into hear rate and the fat burning zone. My Garmin Forerunner has calculated my maximum heart rate to be 184. My heart was up that high after I sprinting at the end of my 6.69km run the first day I used the Garmin. Typically the calculation that is used is 220 minus your age which would be 169 for me.

The normal heart rate for adults is 60bpm but those that are exercisers and athletes can be lower. The lower your heart rate is the more fit you are. If I sit down with my Garmin on and concentrate my heart will go down as low as 53bpm.

The following is how to calculate your lower and high end of your target heart rate (THR) using the Karvonen formula. As my have tested my maximum heart rate to be 184 I will not use the 220 – (your age) calculation.

220 – (your age) = Max Heart Rate (MHR)
MHR – (resting heart rate) = Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)
(HRR x 50% = training range %) + resting heart rate = low end of target heart rate (THR) zone
(HRR x 85% = training range %) + resting heart rate = high end of target heart rate (THR) zone

184MHR
184 – 54 = 132HRR
(132 x 50%) + 53 = 119 low end of THR zone
(132 x 85%) + 53 = 165 high end of THR zone

So 50-85% of my heart rate reserve (HRR) is 119bpm to 165bpm.

About.com in their article on Find Your Target Heart Rate provide the following general recommendations for the percent of your heart rate reserve (HRR) you should be exercising in.

Beginners – 50-60%
Intermediate or average – 60-70%
Advanced – 75-85%

I would consider myself advanced so the HRR I would exercise in would be 123bpm to 140bpm.

Before doing this research I had an alert on my Garmin that would let me know when I was below 143bpm so I would speed up. I have moved this down to 140 until I go over my numbers with a exercise professional.

If you would like to calculate YOUR heart rate reserve for yourself you can use Brian Calkins Karvonen Heart Rate Calculator.

Brain also has a interview on this site that he did in 2005 with Doug Jackson, one of the country’s top fitness professionals, which deals with 6 Keys to Optimize Your Cardiovascular Training for Enhanced Fitness & Fat Reduction. You may want to read that also while you are on his site.

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