The Talk Test to Measure Exercise Intensity in Children
The Talk Test (TT) is a measure of exercise intensity that has been used in a variety of populations. This study extends the use of the TT as a method to measure exercise intensity in prepubertal children. Healthy children performed an incremental exercise test and then either an interval-based exercise session on the treadmill or a 30-min free-play activity session in the gymnasium. The subject read a short (~100 word) passage and responded to “can you speak comfortably?” If the subject was able to speak comfortably, it was recorded as the positive (+) stage of the TT. If the individual was able to speak but with some difficulty, it was recorded as the equivocal stage (+/-). If the subject was unable to speak comfortably, it was recorded as the negative (-) stage. Ventilatory threshold (VT) was determined in the laboratory through respiratory gas exchange. During the interval-based activity and free-play session, the TT was used in the prediction of whether the subject was exercising at an intensity below or above their VT. Data analysis was performed with a chi-squared test for determining statistical significance. In both the interval-based exercise session and the free-play activity, the TT was effective at predicting whether the subject was exercising at an intensity below or above their VT. Correct predictions were made 73.3% of the time for the interval-based exercise group and 81.6% of the time for the free-play session. The TT appears to be a valid predictor of exercise intensity in prepubertal children participating in interval exercise or free play.
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