Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Physical Education and Exercise Science

Major Professor

Marcus Kilpatrick, Ph.D.


Perceived exertion, Body togs, Exercise, Physical activity, Resistance


The growing public health burden associated with insufficient physical activity has resulted in the development of numerous health initiatives and products aimed at stabilizing and reversing the negative trends reported in epidemiological literature. A relatively novel product that has only recently made its way to the market are wearable weights. These products are designed to be worn on the lower legs and arms along with regular clothing as a means to increase caloric expenditure. However, no research to date has tested the efficacy of this product. PURPOSE: Compare psychological responses within bouts of aerobic exercise that vary on intensity and the presence of wearable weights. METHODS: Seventeen (11 female, 6 male, mean age = 24 years, mean BMI = 25.0 ) healthy volunteers were tested for aerobic fitness on a treadmill to determine VO2 max (mean = 44 ml x kg-1 x min-1).

Participants then completed eight 30-minute walking trials on a treadmill while three ratings of perceived exertion (RPE - overall, RPE - chest and breathing, and RPE - legs ) were monitored while walking at different speeds and with varying combination of upper and lower body wearable weights. The design included two intensities (slow walking and brisk walking) and four conditions (no weights, arm weights, leg weights, and arm and leg weights) for a total of eight experimental trials. RESULTS: Data were analyzed using ANOVA and pairwise comparisons. Analyses revealed RPE overall was significantly elevated (P < 0.05), as was RPE of the legs (p < 0.05) while wearing upper and lower weights in the brisk walk trial but not in the slow walk trial. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that exercising while using wearable weights increases RPE for the legs and overall only during the faster walking trials.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: This finding suggests that physical activity associated with daily living could be enhanced through the wearing of weights that can be worn under clothing without increasing perceptions of effort. In contrast, findings relative to brisk walking suggest that any beneficial increase in energy expenditure is potentially offset by significantly increased effort.