Well Clinics Clone

Welcome to the new and improved WELL Health Clinic Network website.


Stress Testing

Looking for an Exercise Stress Test (GXT)? At the WELL Health Clinic Network, we provide quick and convenient access to the care you need. Our dedicated healthcare providers are committed to delivering exceptional care, assisting you every step of the way.

Stress Testing Near You

Your Stress Testing Questions Answered

An exercise stress test is a diagnostic test that monitors your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing during physical activity. It provides valuable information about how your heart functions during exercise.

An exercise stress test typically involves walking on a treadmill while your healthcare professional closely observes your heart’s response.

Your healthcare professional may recommend an exercise stress test for several reasons: 

  • Diagnosing coronary artery disease: The test can help identify problems with blood flow within your heart’s major blood vessels (coronary arteries) caused by plaque buildup. 
  • Diagnosing heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias): The test helps evaluate the proper functioning of your heart’s electrical impulses, which regulate its rhythm. 
  • Guiding treatment of heart disorders: If you have a known heart condition, an exercise stress test can assess the effectiveness of your treatment and determine how much exercise your heart can handle. It may also assist in planning cardiac surgery timing or determining the need for advanced therapies in some cases, such as heart failure. 

In preparation for your stress test:  

  • Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. 
  • Depending on the specific instructions from your healthcare provider, you may need to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, or consuming caffeine before your test. 
  • Consult your healthcare provider about the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medications that might interfere with the test. 
  • If you use an inhaler for asthma or breathing problems, bring it to the test. 

During your stress test 

First, a doctor will ask about your medical history and how often and strenuously you exercise. This helps determine the amount of exercise appropriate for you during the test. The doctor will evaluate your heart and lung function for any abnormalities that could impact the test results. 

A nurse or technician will attach sticky patches (electrodes) to your chest, legs, and arms. In some cases, shaving may be necessary to ensure proper adhesion. These electrodes connect to an electrocardiogram machine, which records the electrical signals responsible for your heartbeats. A cuff on your arm will monitor your blood pressure throughout the test. You may also need to breathe into a tube to assess your breathing capacity during exercise. 

You’ll then begin walking on a treadmill. As the test progresses, the exercise gets more difficult until your heart rate has reached a set target or until you develop symptoms that don’t allow you to continue. These signs and symptoms may include: 

  • Moderate to severe chest pain 
  • Severe shortness of breath 
  • Abnormally high or low blood pressure 
  • An abnormal heart rhythm 
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Changes in your electrocardiogram 


You and your healthcare professional will discuss your safe limits for exercise. You may stop the test anytime you’re too uncomfortable to continue exercising. 


After your stress test 

After you stop exercising, you may need to stand still for several seconds and then lie down for a period of time with the monitors in place. Your healthcare provider can watch for abnormalities as your heart rate and breathing return to normal. 

When your exercise stress test is complete, you may return to normal activities unless your doctor tells you otherwise. 

For more information about our exercise stress tests in Ontario, visit

You can use the WELL Clinics website to quickly find an exercise stress test (GXT) clinic near you. If you have a referral or requisition, select the button below to book a stress testing appointment.

If you don’t have a referral or requisition but would like to request a stress testing appointment, book with your family doctor. Alternatively, you can use our clinic map to find a primary care clinic or telehealth service and request a referral.