Cardiac Rehabilitation: Monitoring Your Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

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Cardiac Rehabilitation: Monitoring Your Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

Topic Overview

Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a valuable and reliable indicator for monitoring your exercise tolerance. It is usually used as part of an organized cardiac rehab program. It is probably most useful to first learn about RPE with a health professional, such as an exercise physiologist or trainer, and then you may be able to use it when you exercise on your own.

The RPE is a means of determining how hard you are exerting yourself, including physiological (how hard you are breathing, how fast your heart is beating) and muscular strain (how much you feel the exertion in your muscles). The scale measures your answer to the question: "How hard do you feel the exercise is?" The scale goes from 6 to 20.

RPE scale
Rating number Perceived exertion
6 Very, very light
7
8 Very light
9
10 Light
11
12 Somewhat hard
13
14 Hard
15
16 Very hard
17
18
19 Very, very hard
20

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last Revised November 22, 2010

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