Validity of the counting talk test in comparison with standard methods of estimating exercise intensity in young healthy adults

Joseph F Norman, Elizabeth Hopkins, Erin Crapo
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 2008, 28 (3): 199-202

PURPOSE: The Talk Test is a method for recommending exercise intensity on the basis of the ability of an individual to carry on a conversation during exercise and has been associated with defining the upper recommended limits of exercise intensity for cardiorespiratory training. The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of a novel variation of the Talk Test method, the "Counting Talk Test" (CTT), as a semiquantitative approach for estimating exercise intensity in healthy individuals.

METHODS: Forty young adults (22.5 +/- 2.3 years) participated in 2 maximal treadmill tests on separate days. The first test was performed to determine maximum heart rate (HR) and oxygen uptake (VO2) and to allow participants to habituate to the testing protocol. During the second session, participants were instructed in the CTT method. HR, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), blood pressure, and CTT were recorded at rest and at each test stage. Correlation analyses were conducted among the variables.

RESULTS: Correlation coefficients values, r = -0.93, -0.92, and -0.86, were found between the %CTT and percentage of heart rate reserve (%HRR), percentage of VO2-reserve (%VO2R), and RPE, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The CTT has concurrent validity with the criterion measure of VO2R as well as to the more commonly utilized measures of HRR and RPE for estimating relative exercise intensity in young adults. Exercising at a level at which individuals could count to half to one third of their resting CTT value corresponded with American College of Sports Medicine's recommendations for moderate to vigorous exercise intensity.


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