This study investigated the heart rate profiles of 16 experienced, competitive orienteers (aged 15-62 years) during three competitive events. Each competitor was assessed over three different types of course which were classified as: fast run (FR), slow run (SR) and highly physical (HP). The results showed that all subjects recorded heart rates that were between 140 and 180 beats min-1 for the majority of each event (irrespective of age or course type). The heart rate data indicated that the activity was largely aerobic but varied in intensity, with phases of strenuous anaerobic work. The type of course was shown significantly (analysis of variance; P < 0.001) to affect the mean heart rate attained by each orienteer (FR = 160, HP = 158, SR = 150 beats min-1), with courses that required more technical skill and hence slower running producing lower mean heart rates; although the general physical demands were similar for all courses. The older orienteers (> 45 years) recorded heart rate profiles that were similar to those of the young orienteers with no correlation being found between age and mean heart rate while exercising.
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