Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

Last Updated: May 30, 2020

Definition - What does Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) mean?

Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is a method used to determine the amount of physical force applied and sustained during common activities that entail varying degrees of effort. The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion is a basic criterion for measuring and comparing a person’s perceived exertion rate to a corresponding scale of graduated values indicating the range of exertion. For instance, the number six is the lowest number, representing no physical exertion, while twenty is the highest number, indicating maximal exertion.

WorkplaceTesting explains Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

Because perceived exertion is a subjective assessment, individuals use the Borg scale to measure intensity levels of physical variables including heart rate, muscle fatigue, respiration, and sweating. These telltale factors can help people determine if their rate of perceived exertion is consistent with personal goals to optimize a specific physical activity range. For this reason, individuals are expected to provide approximate feedback that closely matches physical attributes including agility, endurance/stamina, power, and strength tailored to their rate of perceived exertion.

Many industries and occupations expose employees to environmental conditions consisting of high physical demands or sedentary positions increasing the risk for developing musculoskeletal diseases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the epidemiological ramifications linked to musculoskeletal diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, and lower back problems interfere with business production. Evidence suggests that companies who promote a culture of awareness by introducing health programs and ergonomic control measures can help prevent or reduce the possibility of musculoskeletal conditions.

Rate of perceived exertion can serve as an effective appraisal in deciding physical limitations associated with vigorous and repetitive duties and tasks at work. Early intervention can potentially mean the difference between a strong workforce and one with a high incidence rate for injuries.

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