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This study assessed the nature of the perceived exertion response to treadmill running in 14 healthy 7–8 year-old children, using the Eston-Parfitt (E-P) Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale and a marble dropping task. For the E-P scale and the marble dropping task, the relationships between the RPE and work rate were best described as linear (R2 = .96) and curvilinear (R2 = .94), respectively. This study further suggests that individual respiratory-metabolic cues (oxygen uptake: O2, heart rate: HR, ventilation: V̇E) may significantly influence the overall RPE to varying degrees in young children. The E-P scale provides an intuitively meaningful and valid means of quantifying the overall perception of exertion in young, healthy children during treadmill running. The marble dropping task is a useful secondary measure of perceived exertion, which provides further insight into the nature of the perceived exertion response to exercise in young children.
Lambrick, Rowlands, and Eston are with the School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK.