Heart Rate Monitoring
Heart rate is one of the fundamental vital signs and is related to level of physical exertion.

Heart Rate Monitoring has been used in both clinical and research settings to estimate activity-related energy expenditure based upon the assumption of a linear relationship between heart rate and oxygen consumption (VO2). (Wilmore, 1971)1 Because the HR-VO2 relationship is somewhat attenuated during low and very high intensity activities (Acheson, 1980)2, and because of considerable between person and day–to–day HR–VO2 variability (Li, 1993;3 McCrory, 19974), individual HR–VO2 calibration technique is rather cumbersome.

Several studies (Welk 20025, Crouter 20046, Kurpad 20067) have found that calibration is required to create a curve between the subject's heart–rate and estimated energy expenditure, involving a sub–maximal stress test at moderate activity levels (Freedson and Miller 20008, Crouter 2004, Kurpad 2006).

The actual heart rate monitoring itself is easy and quick to administer and can be utilized in either a laboratory or free–living setting. It is modestly in the assessment of physical activity intensity and has been utilized in both children (Beghin, 2002)9 and adults (Strath, 2002;10 Kashiwazaki, 198611). Unfortunately, there is the potential for heart rate monitoring to cause an alteration in activity behavior. Heart rate monitoring is usually limited to a short time frame. Lastly, body temperature, size of the active muscle mass (e.g. upper vs. lower body), type of exercise (static vs. dynamic), stress, and medication influence HR, which may result in an estimation of activity–related energy expenditure (Acheson, 1980; Montoye, 199612).

1Wilmore J.H., Haskell W.L., Use of the heart rate–energy expenditure relationship in the individualized prescription of exercise, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 24:1186–1192, 1971

2Acheson K.J., Campbell I.T., Edholm O.G., Miller D.S., Stock M.J., The measurement of daily energy expenditure – an evaluation of some techniques, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 33:1155-1164, 1980

3Li R., Deurenberg P., Hautvast J.G.A.J., A critical evaluation of heart rate monitoring to assess energy expenditure in individuals, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 58, 602–607, 1993

4McCrory M.A., Mole P.A., Nommsen–Rivers L.A., Dewey K.G. Between–day and within–day variability in the relation between heart rate and oxygen consumption: effect on the estimation of energy expenditure by heart rate monitoring, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66, 18–25, 1997

5Welk G., Introduction to Physical Activity Research, Physical Activity Assessments for Health-Related Research, Human Kinetics, 3–18, 2002

6Freedson P.S., Miller K., Objective monitoring of physical activity using motion sensors and heart rate, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71:21–29, 2002

7Crouter S.E., Albright C., Bassett D.R. Jr., Accuracy of polar S410 heart rate monitor to estimate energy cost of exercise, Med Sci Sports Exercise, 36:1433–9, 2004

8Kurpad A.V., Raj R., Maruthy K.N., Vaz M., A simple method of measuring total daily energy expenditure and physical activity level from the heart rate in adult men, European Journal of Clinical Nutrtion, 60:32–40, 2006

9Beghin L., Michaud L., Guimber D., et al., Assessing sleeping energy expenditure in children using heart–rate monitoring calibrated against open circuit indirect calorimetry: a pilot study, Br J Nutr, 88:553–543 2002

10Strath S.J., Bassett D.R., Thompson D.L., Swartz A.M., Validity of the simultaneous heart rate–motion sensor technique for measuring energy expenditure, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34, 888–894 2002

11Kashiwazaki H., Inaoka T., Suzuki T., Kondo Y., Correlations of pedometer readings with energy expenditure in workers during free–living daily activities, Eur J Appl Physiol, 54:585–590 1986

12Montoye H.J., Kemper H.C.G., Saris W.H.M., Washburn R.A., Measuring physical activity and energy expenditure, Human Kinetics, 1996