Self-regulation of Exercise Intensity in Cardiac Rehabilitation Participants

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Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine if Phase III‐IV cardiac rehabilitation participants could accurately self‐monitor exercise intensity through the use of the heart rate (HR) palpation technique and the rating of perceived exertion scale (RPE) during their typical exercise routine and to determine if participants were exercising within their prescribed target heart rate (THR) range. Methods One hundred and sixty‐one (119 men, 42 women) cardiac rehabilitation participants (age = 64.8 ± 9.2 years) each performed their usual exercise routine on aerobic equipment for 20 min, while wearing a HR monitor. At 10 and 15min of exercise, participants reported their 10‐s palpated HR and RPE rating. Results No significant differences were found between mean palpated HRmin10 (100.8 ±18.6 beats per minute (BPM) and mean actual HRmin10 (102.7 ± 17.1 BPM) or mean palpated HRmin15 (105.9 ±19.2 BPM) and mean actual HRmin15 (106.4 ± 18.4 BPM). The correlations between actual HR and palpated HR at 10 and 15 min of exercise was 0.73 (p < 0.0001, (Standard error of the estimate) SEE = 11.7 BPM) and 0.83 (p < 0.0001, SEE = 10.3 BPM), respectively. When actual HR was compared with THR, 16 participants exceeded their prescribed THR (11–20 BPM), 82 participants fell below their THR (15–26 BPM), and 25 participants exercised within their THR, even though all reported a similar RPE (11–12). Conclusions The results of this study suggest that Phase III‐IV cardiac rehabilitation participants can accurately palpate their exercise pulse rates but their RPE did not appropriately reflect the intensity of their physical effort. Additionally, the majority of participants did not exercise within their prescribed THR range.

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Sports Medicine, Training, and Rehabilitation

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