We examined the heart rate (HR) of subjects with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) in order to estimate exercise intensity while walking. The subjects were 17 subjects with CP (14.0 +/- 3.7 years of age) containing 7 subjects rated as level 1, 4 subjects rated as level 2, and 6 subjects rated as level 3 by the Gross Motor Function Classification System, and 7 normal subjects (12.4 +/- 2.8 years of age) were used as a controls. Even in subjects whose gross motor function was excellent (rated as level 1), the HR significantly increased while walking when compared to normal subjects (p < 0.05), although the walking speed between the groups was not different. According to the HR, the exercise intensity while walking was adapted from weakly to moderately and thought to be appropriate for exercise. On the other hand, walking speed was significantly reduced in the subjects rated as level 2 and 3 (p < 0.05), and the HR increased significantly (p < 0.05). Seven of the ten subjects rated as either level 2 or 3 showed a high HR of over 150 beats/min while walking. The HR while walking of the two subjects rated as level 3 continued to increase although the walking speed was kept constant. The walking exercise would be too strong and become detrimental to such subjects.