About Heart Wise Exercise

Heart Wise Exercise (HWE) works with community physical activity providers to designate facilities, programs and classes where individuals can exercise regularly to prevent or limit the effects of living with a chronic health condition.

The goals of HWE are:

  • To identify exercise facilities and classes that are suitable for individuals who are graduating from cardiovascular or other rehabilitation programs as well as those  at risk of developing a cardiovascular or chronic health issue.
  • To help those individuals choose exercise facilities and classes that are “heart” friendly
  • A program or class selected to display the Heart Wise Exercise logo meets criteria established by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, fitness professionals in the community, and other stakeholders, including participants.

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute launched the Heart Wise Exercise program in 2007 in partnership with several community organizations with grant support from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion. In partnership with KidActive, the National Capital YMCA and the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada, the program has also received several grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to help grow the program throughout Ontario.

Evaluated for Quality and Satisfaction

In 2015, we performed a formal evaluation of Heart Wise Exercise to see how well program sites fulfill the six criteria that are at the heart of the HWE model. We also surveyed a sample of HWE participants and a sample of fitness leaders delivering the programs.                        

The results confirmed that Heart Wise Exercise participants are highly satisfied with the program. We also found that HWE sessions, with only a few exceptions, meet our six criteria and that we are reaching our core user group of persons with chronic health conditions and/or with risk factors for heart disease.

The survey also found that the fitness leaders themselves indicated that they are confident and knowledgeable instructors in the area of exercise in chronic disease.