Evaluation of heart rate as a method for assessing moderate intensity physical activity

S. J. Strath, A. M. Swartz, Jr Bassett, W. L. O'Brien, G. A. King, B. E. Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


To further develop our understanding of the relationship between habitual physical activity and health, research studies require a method of assessment that is objective, accurate, and noninvasive. Heart rate (HR) monitoring represents a promising tool for measurement because it is a physiological parameter that correlates well with energy expenditure (EE). However, one of the limitations of HR monitoring is that training state and individual HR characteristics can affect the HR-V̇O2 relationship. Purpose: The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between HR (beats · min-1) and V̇O2 (mL · kg-1.-1min-1) during field- and laboratory-based moderate-intensity activities. In addition, we examined the validity of estimating EE from HR after adjusting for age and fitness. This was done by expressing the data as a percent of heart rate reserve (%HRR) and percent of V̇O2 reserve (%V̇O(2R)). Methods: Sixty-one adults (18-74 yr) performed physical tasks in both a laboratory and field setting. HR and V̇O2 were measured continuously during the 15-min tasks. Mean values over min 5-15 were used to perform linear regression analysis on HR versus V̇O2. HR data were then used to predict EE (METs), using age-predicted HR(max) and estimated V̇O(2max). Results: The correlation between HR and V̇O2 was r = 0.68, with HR accounting for 47% of the variability in V̇O2. After adjusting for age and fitness level, HR was an accurate predictor of EE (r = 0.87, SEE = 0.76 METs). Conclusion: This method of analyzing HR data could allow researchers to more accurately quantify physical activity in free-living individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S465-S470
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number9 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Energy expenditure
  • Exercise
  • Karvonen formula
  • Oxygen uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of heart rate as a method for assessing moderate intensity physical activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this