Clinimetrics

Karvonen Formula | Target Heart Rate Calculation | Heart Rate Reserve

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Karvonen formula

Karvonen Formula | Target Heart Rate Calculation | Heart Rate Reserve

The Karvonen formula is a simple formula that you can use to calculate the target heart rate during exercise. The target heart rate is a percentage of an individual’s maximum heart rate. The Center of Disease Control defines 50-70% of the maximum heart rate as moderate intensity and everything above 70% is characterized as vigorous intensity.

How to use the Karvonen formula:

1. Calculate the patient’s maximal heart rate (HRmax) by 220-age in years if not available from a maximal HR test

2. Determine the resting heart rate (HRrest), ideally by measuring upon waking up in the morning or by having the patient lie down for 30 minutes with relaxed breathing and without moving or talking

3. Determine the intensity in order to calculate your target heart rate (HRtarget)

4. Calculate your HRtarget by the following formula: HRrest + Intensity x (HRmax – HRrest). The intensity should be chosen according to the desired training goals.

The following overview is an example of different training intensities and their possible effect:

Training zones

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If you want to calculate the intensity of your strength training, then another formula is used. Check out our wiki entry on the Holten diagram.

 

References

Karvonen J, Vuorimaa T. Heart rate and exercise intensity during sports activities. Sports medicine. 1988 May;5(5):303-11.

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