Subjective estimates of physical work intensity are considered of major importance to those concerned with prescription of exercise. This article reviews major theoretical models which might guide research on the antecedents for ratings of perceived exertion (RPE). It is argued that an active rather than passive view of perception is warranted in future research, and a parallel-processing model is emphasized as providing the needed structure for such reconceptualization. Moreover, existing exercise research is reviewed as support for this latter approach and several suggestions are offered with regard to needed empirical study.
This work was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (HL 30675-01A2).
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