PERKINS, K. A., J. E. SEXTON, R. D. SOLBERG-KASSEL, and L. H. EPSTEIN. Effects of nicotine on perceived exertion during low-intensity activity. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 23, No. 11, pp. 1283–1288, 1991. Nicotine may decrease perceived exertion during physical work, which may be a potentially reinforcing effect of tobacco smoking. This study examined the effects of nicotine on ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during low-intensity physical activity representative of activity normally engaged in by adult smokers. Ten male and 10 female smokers participated in four morning sessions, one for placebo and each of three nicotine doses (7.5, 15, and 30 ·g ·kg-1), which were administered by measured-dose nasal spray. Using a bicycle ergometer, subjects exercised at each of two low power outputs (30 and 60 W) before and after nicotine dosing, while RPE and cardiovascular measures of heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were obtained. Results indicated no significant effect of nicotine on RPE for either males or females. In contrast, nicotine significantly increased each cardiovascular measure during activity, confirming that cardiovascular responses during exercise do not mediate RPE. Thus, nicotine did not influence perception of exertion during low-intensity physical activity.
©1991The American College of Sports Medicine