What is an exercise test?
An exercise test involves completing an activity for a period of time. The main purpose of the test is to measure your exercise capacity.
This might include walking on a treadmill, cycling or stepping up and down on a step. It is used to assess what your ability is to perform the activity and to assess your endurance in doing the activity. Sometimes you might be asked to complete an exercise stress test. This is a treadmill test where you start walking on a treadmill at a particular pace and the gradient and speed you are walking at increases at 3 minute intervals. For this test your heart rate and rhythm is monitored. Your blood pressure is also monitored. Sometimes a different protocol is depending on your level of ability and your joint flexibility. From the test your maximum MET level will be established. This can guide you in the types of activity that you will be able to do.
Why do I need an exercise test?
While the exercise test takes a very short time it gives quite a lot of information. If you are very breathless the test will give a level where the breathlessness starts and assesses your hearts and oxygen capacity level response to it. It is also used to ensure the settings on the pacemaker are fully optimized for you.
In cardiac rehabilitation we use exercise testing to design an exercise programme that is very specific for you. We establish the maximum heart rate that you achieved on the test and give you a training heart rate range. This is very specific to you and ensures that you are not over or under-exercised. It will allow us to ensure that your performance is maximised and that you will get the most out of your exercise training programme.
The exercise test can also establish if you have the capacity to go back to work after a period of disability.
I have a stress test next week and am terrified?
The naming of the test is not ideal as it automatically starts to make you feel under stress. These tests are closely supervised and the staff looking after you are highly skilled. The purpose of the test is not to bring you to the point where you will collapse. It is to look at your body’s response to exercise. It will give the answer to some of the questions you may already have.
Heart 2 Heart Cardiac Physiotherapy
At Heart 2 Heart we complete an exercise test before you start a programme.
Please see the link below for more information on our sessions in Stillorgan:Stillorgan Timetable