Chapter outline

The aim of this chapter is to outline the evidence for and the practicalities of safely and effectively using heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and metabolic equivalents (METs) to set and monitor exercise. The chapter will also consider observation as a component of monitoring. The main focus of applying the theory will relate to the intensity monitoring of aerobic exercise, exercise using large muscle groups in a sequential or rhythmical manner.

The exercise leader will make frequent use of all four methods, relative to the prescription of aerobic exercise. Many of these methods are found in nationally and internationally recognised guidelines, including:

• The American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR, 2004);

• The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN, 2002);

• The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM, 2000);

• The British Association for Cardiac Rehabilitation (BACR, 1995).

There are benefits and drawbacks (physiologically and psychologically) to the individual use of heart rate, RPE, observation or METs. The approach within this chapter will be first to look at these modalities individually, then to reflect on how the practitioner can integrate their use so that the weaknesses of one may be rectified or 'checked' by one or both of the other three. This

Exercise Leadership in Cardiac Rehabilitation. An Evidence-Based Approach. Edited by Morag Thow. Copyright 2006 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-470-01971-9

integration of modalities forms a brief but very important final section to this chapter.



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