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People who perceive themselves as active cannot identify the intensity recommended by the international physical activity guidelines

Authors Prokop N, Hrubeniuk T, Sénéchal M, Bouchard D

Received 4 March 2014

Accepted for publication 2 April 2014

Published 17 October 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 235—241

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJSM.S63496

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Video abstract presented by Neal Prokop

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Neal W Prokop,1 Travis JR Hrubeniuk,1 Martin Sénéchal,2,3 Danielle R Bouchard1,4

1Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; 2Manitoba Institute of Child Health, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; 3Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; 4Health, Leisure, and Human Performance Research Institute, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Background: Many national and international organizations recommend that adults achieve at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity (PA) weekly, at a minimum moderate intensity to optimize health benefits. It is unknown if people who consider themselves as active have the ability to identify what is considered moderate intensity.
Methods: Fifty-one participants who reported achieving a minimum 150 minutes per week at a minimum of moderate intensity PA were recruited through a local fitness facility. All participants underwent a single assessment involving questionnaires, clinical measures, and a treadmill test to measure the ability to perceive moderate intensity. Following the visit, participants' PA level was evaluated by heart rate monitor, while exercising, for 7 consecutive days.
Results: Eighty percent of participants overestimated moderate intensity on the treadmill test; they were at vigorous intensity compared to what is considered moderate. Only 11.8% of participants accurately identified moderate intensity; all of them were women (P=0.03), had a high level of education (P=0.04), and knew that moderate intensity was the minimum intensity recommended by health organizations (P<0.01). Only 69.2% of participants reached the aerobic component of the International Physical Activity Guidelines with no significant advantage for those correctly identifying moderate intensity.
Conclusion: Most people who perceive themselves as active are exercising at vigorous intensity while believing they are at moderate intensity. In addition, in this active sample, one-third of the participants were not reaching the aerobic component of the International Physical Activity Guidelines.

Keywords: aerobic evaluation, health outcomes, physical exertion

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