Perceived Exertion Is More Than Using An Rpe Scale

Many clinicians will discharge patients based on the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale. However, there is another step to be achieved, and that is for patients to be knowledgeable and experienced with the physical sensations, without the rating scale, of the appropriate intensity. The ultimate example of using perceived exertion to control exercise intensity is found in elite endurance athletes who, through their continuous training, have developed a strong sense for pacing. They are able to endure exercise on a very fine line between sustaining their pace and becoming fatigued; physiologists studying bicycle performance have termed this point the 'critical power'. This strong sense, which becomes natural, comes from learning to integrate and judge the sensations arising from the muscles, limb speed and strain, breathing intensity and visual cues of movement (Robertson and Noble, 1997). With regular and frequent exercise, there is no reason why cardiac patients should not be able to develop a strong sense of perceived exertion for controlling safe and effective exercise intensities. The RPE scale should therefore be used as a tool for helping patients become good perceivers of their exertion. The aim of the CR programme is an early but crucial step towards the patient becoming independent in safely and effectively monitoring levels of exertion. This is not just in terms of exercise but in whatever physical activity they perform during daily living, such as gardening, car washing and housework.

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