Neal, M. A., Walker, J. L., Murray, T. D., Patton, R. E., & Squires, W. G. (1998). Variation in exercise heart rate based on ratings of perceived exertion in children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30(5), Supplement abstract 180.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of gender, age, weight, skinfold and body mass on any relationship between heart rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Ss were of both genders (N = 56). A submaximal treadmill test involving walking and running was performed.

RPE accounted for only 35% of HR variability and was less for running than walking. Boys had lower exercise heart rates than girls at all RPEs. For each year in age exercise heart rates were lower for any RPE. Heart rates increased at any RPE with increases in body weight, body mass, and skinfold.

It was recommended that RPE should be used cautiously when monitoring exercise based on HR in children and especially when they run. The other variables also add variation to any HR and RPE relationship.

Implication. In children of both sexes HR and RPE, in practical terms, are not related. Since HR is affected by several variables it would not be a viable index of training prescription for children.

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