A study by Professor Roger Eston of the University of South Australia found that specific ratings ofperceived exertion (RPE) give different readings, depending on what the brain sees as exertion effortsexpended, and not on the intensity of the exercise itself.
Ditching traditional invasive techniques typically used to measure the effectiveness of exercises suchas state-of-the-art equipment that measure heart rate, breathing rate and utilization of oxygen,the researchers focused on the brain and how it monitors and responds to physical exertion during exercises.
Professor Eston explained that the human brain is a ‘personalized, permanently online, user-friendly andremarkably accurate’ way to determine the efficacy of physical workouts. The brain checks not only theusual indicators like heart rate but the more subjective sense of the effort expended during the exercise, making it an effective heart monitor. The study shows the real possibility of people doing less intense exercises but getting the same results and fitness level nonetheless.
For the study which was recently reported in the Medical Xpress, the researchers required severalgroups of people to exercise and monitoring them using a 15-point scale of ratings of perceived exertionthat ranges from no exertion level to maximum exertion level. Dr. Eston says there is a correlation between RPE and the typical indicators of exercise intensity such as heart rate. Thus, RPE is useful forpredicting exercise capacity as well as studying the differences in performance, especially the ups-and-downs during a workout session.
Giving attention to exertions as perceived by the brain can help people exercise more scientifically andwith less effort. More importantly, RPE boosts one’s confidence level, as there is less focus on intensityof workouts but more on the perceived exertions.