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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 140871, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Self-Paced Walking within a Diverse Topographical Environment Elicits an Appropriate Training Stimulus for Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients

1School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Private Bag 756, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
2Institute for Sport Sciences, Julius-Maximilians-University, 97070 Wuerzburg, Germany
3Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Received 2 April 2012; Accepted 28 May 2012

Academic Editor: Nicola Smania

Copyright © 2012 James Faulkner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. To assess the effect of a self-paced walking intervention within a topographically varied outdoor environment on physiological and perceptual markers in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) patients. Methods. Sixteen phase II CR patients completed twelve self-paced one-mile walking sessions over a four-week period within a community-based CR programme. Walking velocity, heart rate (HR), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were reported at eight stages throughout the self-paced walks. Results. The study showed a significant increase in walking velocity from week 1 (~4.5 km/h) to week 4 (~5.1 km/h) of the self-paced walking programme ( ). A significantly higher HR was also observed in week 4 (  b·min−1; ~69% of maximal HR) compared to week 1 (  b·min−1; ~65% of maximal HR, ). There were no changes in the average RPE across the course of the 4-week self-paced walking programme ( ). Conclusion. A self-paced walking programme may elicit an appropriate training stimulus for CR patients when exercising within a diverse topographical environment. Participants completed a one-mile walk within a shorter period of time and at a higher physiological intensity than that elicited at the onset of the programme, despite no observed changes in participants' subjective perception of exertion.