With COVID-19 evolving daily, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help keep you informed and stay active and healthy during this difficult time. Check back regularly as resources will be updated frequently.

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COVID-19 Updates and Resources

  1. Clinical Appointments and Scheduled Programming at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  2. What do I do if I have cardiac symptoms?
  3. Should I keep taking my medications?
  4. Continuing to Manage your Chronic Condition

Tips for Heart Healthy Living While Practicing Physical Distancing

  1. Staying Active
  2. Dealing with Stress and Staying Calm
  3. Eating Healthy
  4. Smoking Cessation
  5. HeartWise Podcasts *NEW*

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Below are links to web pages with information specific to COVID-19 from top Canadian and international health authorities and organizations. 

1. Clinical Appointments and Scheduled Programming at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute

In light of COVID-19, and in keeping with our mission to always put patients first, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute has cancelled all in-person classes, support groups, and workshops, effective Monday, March 16, until further notice. The health and safety of our patients, hospital staff, and community are our top priorities.

As of March 23, we have postponed non-urgent procedures, surgeries, outpatient programming and clinics during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are waiting for a test, procedure or surgery, visit the links below for more information. 

2. What Do I Do if I Have Cardiac Symptoms?

For those who have received notification that your procedure has been postponed and are currently on a waitlist, it is important to keep in touch with your family doctor and cardiologist or cardiac surgeon. You should contact them directly if you are experiencing a change in your cardiac symptoms (for example more frequent angina/chest pain or unusual shortness of breath) or have any other concerns about your medical condition. 

Reminder: Always call 9-1-1 if you think you might be having a heart attack
or have cardiac symptoms that last more than 5 minutes.

3. Should I Keep Taking My Medications?

Yes, it is recommended that you continue taking all your medications as prescribed. There is no clinical evidence at this time to suggest you should stop any of your cardiac medications for fear of complications due to COVID-19. 

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Canadian Heart Failure Society published a joint statement about Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) or Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitors (ARN inhibitors) in hypertensive or heart failure patients. It is recommended people continue to take their medications as prescribed. For more information about these specific medications, visit the Canadian Cardiovascular Society website. 

If you have questions about any of your medications, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

4. Continuing to Manage your Chronic Condition

Aside from doing all you can to avoid the spread of COVID-19, it is important to continue to manage your health. 

  • Living Healthy Champlain offers regular online workshops and webinars to help. Visit the website regularly or sign up for their newsletter.
  • University Health Network’s Cardiac Rehab Program is offering live sessions every Monday - Thursday at 1:00 pm on topics to help you manage your heart health.

Tips for Heart Healthy Living While Practicing Physical Distancing

1. Staying Active

Staying active while following physical distancing guidelines may be a challenge but is not impossible. For tips about how to keep active, click on the links below. 

Getting Started with Exercise

Videos are available in both English and French and provide information on the benefits of aerobic exercise, choosing types and intensity of exercise, and setting goals specific to you. 

Exercising at the Right Level

An overview of how to know you are exercising at the right level is provided in both English and French with our very own Cardiac Rehabilitation staff here at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Stretching Techniques 

One of our physiotherapists, Marc Laflamme, discusses the importance of stretching and how to create a stretching routine. 

Exercise to Improve Muscle Strength

Physiotherapist, Marc Laflamme, discusses how to build a resistance routine in both English and French.

Warm-Up and Cool Down

Hear from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute physiotherapist, Guy-Anne Proulx about the importance of warm-up and cool-down when you exercise.

Staying Motivated

Our physiotherapists, Helena van Ryn and Guy-Anne Proulx discuss targets, how to set goals and stay motivated. Videos are available in both English and French

Additional Resources

Below are additional videos and resources recommended by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute staff that you may find helpful. 

Beginner and Intermediate Level Exercise Videos
Smartphone Apps 

2. Dealing with Stress and Staying Calm

It is entirely normal to feel stressed or worried during this difficult time. Below are resources to help you cope if you are feeling anxious or stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Depression and Anxiety
  • Choose calming, instrumental or soothing music to listen to.
  • Many music streaming services have relaxation playlists. Search for “calm” or “relaxation” or “sleep” playlists.   
Working from Home
Smartphone Apps 

Here are a few recommended smartphone apps by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute staff that you may find helpful.

3. Eating Healthy

It is important to understand that we cannot prevent catching COVID-19 by eating specific foods, taking supplements or other natural health products. Proper hygiene is the only way to reduce our risk of infection and spreading the virus to others.

However, some of the foods we eat can help support the immune system and overall health.  This section will help you plan, shop and cook your meals at home.

Food Safety
Tips and Education
Grocery Shopping

Grocery delivery services and store pick up are strongly encouraged to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and practice self-distancing and self-isolation. To help be efficient, plan your meals and make a grocery list. If you do need to go out, limit your trips to the grocery store to once/week. 

Many grocery stores are offering delivery services for free or reduced pricing. Some examples include Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, and Walmart. Check-in with your regular store to see what is available.

Try New Recipes

Cooking at home is a great way to spend your time while social distancing. This is a great chance to try a new recipe. You may also want to cook your favourite foods which may be comforting.

Prepared Meals, Meal Kits and Produce Delivery Services

While home-cooked meals are the ideal option, sometimes prepared foods can be necessary. There are many local businesses offering prepared meals and produce to be delivered to your house. Some examples include Meals on Wheels, Red Apron, Vittle.

Visit the Buy Local website for an up-to-date list of services within the Ottawa area.

4. Smoking Cessation

It's never too late to quit smoking. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed the way we go about everyday life. If you are already in your quit journey, don’t let it derail your efforts. If you are considering quitting smoking or reducing the amount you smoke, don’t let it stop you.

Here are some resources that can help you with your quit journey. 

5. HeartWise Podcasts

The HeartWise Podcast is produced by the Division of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. In each episode, Deputy Chief of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Dr. Bob Reid sits down with a renowned cardiovascular health and wellness expert and asks them about their expertise. Tune in for reliable information and practical tips to help you start making heart-healthy changes to your life today.