Assessment of RPE Signal Dominance at Slow to Moderate Walking Speeds in Children

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether either the differentiated ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) for the legs (RPE-L) or chest (RPE-C) were higher than the overall body RPE (RPE-O) in children performing treadmill walking. A differentiated RPE that was higher than the RPE-O was considered the dominant perceptual signal. Thirty-one 10-year-old participants (16 boys, 15 girls) performed six separate 5-min bouts of level treadmill walking at different speeds. During each bout of exercise, RPEs were recorded using the modified Children’s OMNI Scale. Oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), and ventilation (VE) were measured during Minutes 4 and 5 at each walking speed. VO2, HR, and VE increased as walking speed increased, as did perceived exertion. No differences were observed among RPE-O, RPE-L, and RPE-C at any speed. In addition, boys and girls exhibited similar responses for each perceptual and physiological variable. In conclusion, a dominant differentiated perceptual rating was not found at slow-to-moderate treadmill walking speeds for either boys or girls. Neither the respiratory–metabolic nor peripheral ratings of perceived exertion appeared to dominate the whole-body sensory-integration process in this sample.

Rutkowski is with the University of VA, General Clinical Research Center, Charlottesville, VA. Robertson is with the University of Pittsburgh, Center for Exercise and Health-Fitness Research, Pittsburgh PA. Tseh is with the University of NC at Wilmington, Dept. of Wellness and Sport Science, Wilmington NC. Caputo and Morgan are with Middle TN State University, Dept of Health, Phys. Ed., Rec., and Safety, Murfreesboro, TN. Keefer is with Millersville University, Dept. of Wellness and Sport Science, Millersville, PA. Sutika is with the University of North Carolina, 3206 Shopton Drive, Apex, NC.