Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Heart Rate and Calories


Almost all exercise machines tell you how many calories you have consumed after a period of exercise. Modern fitness trackers and fitness software applications also perform calculations on how many calories you consume after exercise. Most of these calculations are based on the subjects age and weight, but all of these calculations use heart rate. Humans rely primarily on aerobic metabolism. The amount of oxygen that you consume is related to how quickly your heart can pump blood to your lungs and then to the rest of your body. As a result, tracking heart rate is an excellent way to estimate calorie consumption.

The calories you see listed on food packaging are actually kilocalories, but are referred to as Calories. An average person should consume a minimum of about 2,000 Calories per day. Fitness trackers and exercise machines report the estimated number of Calories consumed during exercise. In this activity, you will calculate the number calories per hour you would consume performing different activities while monitoring your heart rate.


  • Determine the effect of exercise on heart rates.
  • Calculate the estimated calories burned as a function of heart rate, age, body weight, and sex.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Human Physiology Experiments

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Body Temperature
2Limb Position and Grip Strength
3Introduction to Electromyography
4Simple Neuromuscular Reflexes
6Homeostasis and Autonomic Reflexes
7Effect of Exercise on Heart Rate
8Introduction to Electrocardiography
9Blood Flow and Skin Temperature
10Respiration and Ventilation
11Ventilation and Heart Rate
12Oxygen Extraction During Respiration
13Effect of Exercise on Oxygen Usage
14Heart Rate and Calories

Experiment 14 from Human Physiology Experiments Lab Book

<i>Human Physiology Experiments</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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