In sports and particularly exercise testing, the Borg RPE Scale measures perceived exertion. In medicine this is used to document the patient's exertion during a test, and sports coaches use the scale to assess the intensity of training and competition. The original scale introduced by Gunnar Borg rated exertion on a scale of 6-20. Borg then constructed a category (C) ratio (R) scale, the Borg CR10 Scale. This is especially used in clinical diagnosis of breathlessness and dyspnea, chest pain, angina and musculo-skeletal pain. The CR-10 scale is best suited when there is an overriding sensation arising either from a specific area of the body, for example, muscle pain, ache or fatigue in the quadriceps or from pulmonary responses.
The Borg scale can be compared to other linear scales such as the Likert scale or a visual analogue scale. The sensitivity and reproducibility of the results are broadly very similar, although the Borg may outperform the Likert scale in some cases.
The seemingly odd range of 6-20 is to follow the general heart rate of a healthy adult by multiplying by 10. For instance, a perceived exertion of 12 would be expected to coincide with a heart rate of roughly 120 beats per minute.
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- Borg's Perceived Exertion and Pain Scales. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 1998
- Borg, G. (1970). "Perceived exertion as an indicator of somatic stress". Scandinavian journal of rehabilitation medicine 2 (2): 92–98. PMID 5523831.
- Grant, S.; Aitchison, T.; Henderson, E.; Christie, J.; Zare, S.; McMurray, J.; Dargie, H. (1999). "A Comparison of the Reproducibility and the Sensitivity to Change of Visual Analogue Scales, Borg Scales, and Likert Scales in Normal Subjects During Submaximal Exercise". Chest 116 (5): 1208–1217. doi:10.1378/chest.116.5.1208. PMID 10559077.
- Information about Gunnar Borg PhD MD hc. at Department of Psychology, Stockholm University
- More detailed description of the Borg scale at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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