Exercise tests

What are they used for?

Exercise tests assess how your body and breathing responds to exercise.

They may be used to:

  • Diagnose unexplained shortness of breath.
  • Assess your fitness levels.
  • Understand why your tolerance of physical exercise may be low.
  • Assess your fitness for major surgery such as transplant.
  • Diagnose respiratory and heart diseases.
  • Monitor your rehabilitation after a major illness.

What to expect

There are different types of exercise tests:

  • Walking tests – You may be asked to walk as far as you can in six minutes, resting whenever you need to. Your heart rate and oxygen levels will be monitored using a pulse oximeter. Alternatively, with the shuttle-walking test, you may be asked to walk between two points 10 metres apart and stop when you hear a bleep. The timing of the bleeps will get shorter and shorter, giving you less time to get to the next point. This is designed to make you walk quicker and quicker. The test ends when you can’t keep up with the beeps any more. You will be asked to repeat the test.
  • Treadmill tests – You will be connected to a mouthpiece or mask, which will measure your breathing during the exercise. You will start off gently and then the amount of resistance will be gradually increased – for example by simulating walking or cycling up a slope. The test will measure how much oxygen you take in and how much carbon dioxide you breathe out. It will also monitor your blood pressure and heart using an ECG. The test normally lasts around 10 minutes however it may be stopped sooner if you are unable to continue.
  • Cycle tests – these are similar to treadmill tests but you will use an exercise bike instead of a treadmill and the pedals will become harder and harder to push around.

Avoid eating a large meal or smoking immediately before your test.  You will be able to go home afterwards, once you have recovered fully.

Before your test someone from our team will personally contact you by telephone to give you information about what to expect and how to prepare.

Book your appointment here.

What can they diagnose?

Exercise tests may be used to assess your fitness for surgery or to diagnose certain heart and lung conditions, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Lung disease
  • Other respiratory disorders

Other tests may also be used to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Our team of experts don’t stop until we find the cause

Request a call back from the Ridgeway Respiratory Services team to discuss your personalised diagnostic tests.