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Fatigue as a Predictor of Perceived Exertion Varies with Task Difficulty in Older Women: 2516 Board #221 May 30, 1100 AM - 1230 PM

Neumeier, William H.1; Chandler-Laney, Paula C.1; Brock, David W.2; Fisher, Gordon1; Hunter, Gary R. FACSM1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 5S - p 683
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000495522.00620.e2
E-37 Free Communication/Poster - Perception: Fatigue Friday, May 30, 2014, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room:WB1

1University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. 2University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.

(No relationships reported)

Fatigue and tiredness are associated with lower levels of physical activity. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals who have higher perceptions of exertion following prescribed physical activity also tend to be more inactive under free-living conditions.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if an association exists between the pre-exercise measure of fatigue/tiredness and the exercise perceptions of perceived exertion. Additionally, we sought to determine whether this association varies with intensity of activity.

METHODS: Healthy post-menopausal women (N = 85) reported fatigue/tiredness using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) Fatigue subscale, and items 15 and 20 from the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II). Participants engaged in 3 activities of varying intensity, for 4 minutes per activity, in the following order: stair climbing (higher intensity), flat treadmill walk (lower intensity) and graded treadmill walk (higher intensity). Participants’ perceptions of exertion were recorded following each activity using the Borg Rating Scale of Perceived Exertion, and relationships between perception and fatigue/tiredness were examined using multiple linear regression analyses. Each regression model consisted of a fatigue measure and a composite physiological effort variable that included heart rate, VE, and respiratory exchange ratio.

RESULTS: Fatigue/tiredness was significantly associated with perceived exertion during the lower intensity, flat treadmill walk task (POMS Fatigue β = .21, p = .04; BDI 15 β = .38, p = .001; BDI 20 β = .24, p = .03), after adjustment for physiological effort. This relationship was not observed with the higher intensity tasks, where only the physiological effort variable was related to perceived exertion.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest fatigue/tiredness may contribute to greater perceived exertion during low intensity tasks, but has no effect on perceived exertion during higher intensity tasks. It would be of interest in the future to identify a threshold of intensity for the reported effect, as well as continue to investigate the relationship between psychological factors and willingness to engage in physical activity.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine