Perceived exertion during the performance of purposeful and nonpurposeful activity was studied in 26 women. The subjects acted as their own controls in the performance of both kinds of exercise. The two exercises were jumping rope, defined as a purposeful activity, and jumping in place without a rope, defined as a nonpurposeful activity. In each activity the subjects exercised to reach the subjective point of “very hard work” on the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. Duration and cessation of exercise were entirely controlled by the performers. Heart rate responses during and immediately after cessation of exercise, measured by electrocardiographic telemetry, and duration of exercise in seconds were compared for the two types of exercise. Results showed that heart rate increase at a given rate of perceived exertion was significantly higher (.001) for jumping rope. This raises the possibility that workload was inadvertently perceived by the performers to be greater in nonpurposeful activity and provides support for the hypothesis that purposeful activity serves as an intrinsic motivator to the performer.

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