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01.03.2018 | Discussion | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research 1/2018

Pacing and perceived exertion in endurance performance in exercise therapy and health sports

A competence-oriented view

German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Prof. Dr. Christian Thiel, Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeifer, Prof. Dr. Gorden Sudeck
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12662-017-0489-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


When humans are physically active for an extended period of time, they regulate their physical performance in order to achieve the intended goal of that activity with an individually adequate effort. This permanent conscious or subconscious proportioning of energetic reserves towards an endpoint is termed as “pacing”. While pacing has primarily attracted notice in endurance sports competition, it also plays a vital role in other contexts of physical activity, such as locomotion or transport, work, leisure, and prevention and rehabilitation. The current paper outlines some of the fundamentals of pacing and aims to stimulate a debate by highlighting the potential and limitations of a stronger consideration of pacing in exercise therapy and health sports from a biomedical and psychosocial perspective. Endurance training that focuses on the learning of pacing and the perception of exertion may improve the control competence as one component of physical-activity-related health competence. In terms of client orientation, this would strengthen participants’ autonomy in exercise configuration, and it might positively influence well-being, self-responsibility, compliance, and long-term training effects. In fact, professional societies see scope for defined target groups in cardiac prevention and rehabilitation to self-regulate their training intensity based on perceived exertion. However, the training effects and the risks of self-regulation have yet to be investigated more carefully in subjects who are not experienced with exercise. Further research is also needed on the mechanisms of perception of physiological strain and effort, as well as on approaches for optimal support of the learning of pacing to achieve control competence.

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Pacing und Beanspruchungsempfinden bei Ausdauerbelastungen in Bewegungstherapie und Gesundheitssport – eine kompetenzorientierte Betrachtung
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