The heart rate reserve is the difference that stands between a person’s no activity heart rate and maximum heart rate. It is the degree of heart rate values that can be seen for an individual, between the lowest they have at rest and the highest they can achieve through pressure.
Heart rate reserve is used to measure heart rate workout zones by the Karvonen formula. In studies, the heart rate reserve has been found to compare well with the oxygen consumption reserve (VO2R) for estimating exercise energy expended at different exertion levels.
Also Known As:
- HR (Max) – HR (Rest)
Heart Rate Reserve Used To Measure Exercise Intensity
The Karvonen Formula uses the heart rate reserve number before calculating heart rate percentage of maximum numbers for target heart rates. You have to know your resting heart rate by taking your pulse first thing after awakening and before you get out of bed. Then you need to know your highest heart rate, which can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220 (classic Karvonen Formula) or 206.9 – (0.67 x age) with the updated formula. This might not be accurate if you are in very good aerobic condition for your age, and so athletes may use other methods to determine their maximum heart rate.
With these two numbers, the Karvonen Formula is: Exercise HR = % of target intensity (HR Max – HR Rest) + HR Rest. The middle term is the heart rate reserve, which is then multiplied by the percentage of target intensity desired, and then the resting heart rate is added back in.
If you want to workout in the moderate intensity zone, the % of target intensity defined by the CDC is from 50% to 70%
Increasing Your Heart Rate Reserve
Maximum heart rate is typically age-based and difficult to change with exercise, with only small effects seen. The implications for heart rate reserve is that you would increase it most by lowering the resting heart rate. The resting heart rate is seen to be lowered by increasing cardiovascular fitness, although overtraining can result in a temporary increase in the resting heart rate.
To reach a larger functional heart rate reserve, the chief mechanism is to lower resting heart by building cardiovascular fitness with activities such as brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling and other endurance exercises. These cardio exercises challenge the lungs and heart and when engaged in regularly they build cardiovascular capacity.