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In Memory: Martti J. Karvonen, M.D, Ph.D.

ACSM was saddened to learn of the passing of Martti J. Karvonen at the age of 90 years.

Karvonen’s name is well-known to researchers and practitioners in sports and exercise medicine all over the world, especially through the “Karvonen Equation (Training heart rate=[maximal heart rate-resting heart rate] X desired exercise intensity)” from 1957 to assess individually effective exercise training heart rate. The widespread and continuous use of this formula symbolizes well Karvonen’s work: basic observations made by often simple but always reliable methods, interpreted innovatively but critically have led to continuing flow of new research and new applications on new fields.

The foundation of Karvonen’s work was thorough knowledge and deep understanding of physiology. This strength combined with his curious, outgoing, and friendly personality led him to wide national and international collaboration to explore many fields and to build bridges between many disciplines and numerous people. Karvonen was a highly respected researcher, teacher, mentor, and administrator in leading positions in exercise, sports, work, clinical, environmental, and applied physiology; in occupational, veterinary, aviation, and military medicine; and in physical education and nutrition. Last but not at all least, he was a pioneer in cardiovascular epidemiology and was the initiator and godfather of many major studies in Finland, some still ongoing, including The Seven Countries Study and the North Karelia Project.

Karvonen received Honorary Doctoral degrees from several universities and was recognized as an honorary member of many scientific societies in Finland and abroad. ACSM recognized Karvonen´s achievements with the Honor Award in 1991.


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