Every heart wise exercise class...

  1. Encourages regular, daily aerobic exercise

    The Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity state that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.   

    There’s overwhelming evidence that doing aerobic exercise is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our health. For an overview, watch this video from Dr. Mike Evans, a family physician whose passion is communicating the best health information to the general public.

    While you probably won’t attend a HWE class everyday, the leader of a HWE class will promote everyday aerobic exercise.

    Aerobic exercise uses the large muscles and increases heart rate for a continuous period of time. Examples include brisk walking, running, swimming, and bicycling. Strengthening and stretching exercises are recommended at least two days per week. Some HWE classes offer this kind of exercise, but will still promote daily aerobic exercise.

    For further information about the importance of physical activity for your health, visit Prevention and Wellness

  2. Encourages and includes warm up, cool down and self-monitoring with all exercise sessions

    All leaders of HWE-approved classes have been trained to include adequate warm ups and cool downs so your body can adjust to the exercise session safely. You will be encouraged to go at your own pace and to listen to your body to be sure you can talk while you exercise. 

  3. Allows participants to exercise at a safe level and offers options to modify intensity

    Exercising safely means exercising at a level that feels right for you.  Heart Wise Exercise classes will include options for exercising at different levels of intensity.

  4. Includes participants with chronic health conditions – physician approval may be required

    Exercise is very important if you have a health condition. While Heart Wise Exercise leaders know how to provide safe exercise programs, it’s important to tell your doctor that you are exercising in case there are restrictions you should be aware of. Some HWE programs may require you to have formal approval from your doctor.

  5. Offers health screening for all participants

Heart Wise Exercise classes offer you the chance to let the fitness leader know about your condition so they can provide any modifications needed.  The screening may be a form you fill out or an opportunity during class to speak with the instructor in person.The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends that all exercise participants complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire before starting a new exercise program.You can complete a paper version which you can print and bring to your fitness professional, or you can complete an online, interactive process.

  1. Has a documented emergency plan that is known to all exercise leaders, including the requirement of current CPR, certification, phone access to local paramedic services and presence of a defibrillator

    When you exercise at a Heart Wise Exercise facility, you know there is a plan for emergency situations, there is a defibrillator on site, and that staff know how to use it.


Heart Wise Exercise-approved offerings cover different types of exercise with different levels of intensity. The program descriptions provided by the facilities will help you find the Heart Wise Exercise program for you. If you’re not sure, please contact the program operator or your healthcare provider.

To find a HWE program near you, find your location and search our interactive map.