INTRODUCTION: The Talk Test (TT) is a well-accepted measure of exercise intensity and is a useful surrogate of ventilatory (VT) and respiratory compensation (RCT) thresholds in sedentary, fit, athletic, and cardiac populations. Recently, the TT has also been shown to reflect these same markers in children.
PURPOSE: The present study was designed 1) to replicate TT results during incremental exercise in children, and 2) to evaluate the ability of the TT to predict when the subjects would be above (-TT) or below (+TT) VT intensity during interval exercise.
METHODS: Healthy pre-pubertal children (5m, 5f) were studied using the TT and gas exchange during incremental exercise to determine the match between TT stages and VT. Another group of healthy pre-pubertal children (7m, 6f) were studied both during incremental and stochastic exercise, in order to determine how well TT responses during stochastic exercise predicted whether the children were above or below VT.
RESULTS: During incremental exercise, there was good correspondence between the VO2@VT and the VO2@ the last positive (LP) (r=0.79) and the equivocal (EQ) (r=0.75) stages of the TT, which match earlier findings from our laboratory (Giddings et al., 2018; LP TT, r=0.62 & EQ TT, r=0.75). During stochastic exercise, correct matching of predicted vs. observed +TT and predicted vs. observed -TT were present 73% of the time. Discordant results were present 27% of the time. These findings match earlier findings from our laboratory in adults relative to the matching of observed vs. predicted results.
CONCLUSION: The TT behaves as a similar surrogate of VT in children, as it does in adults, during both incremental and stochastic exercise.