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.
COVID-19 Updates and Resources
- Clinical Appointments and Scheduled Programming at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute
- What do I do if I have cardiac symptoms?
- Should I keep taking my medications?
- Continuing to Manage your Chronic Condition
Tips for Heart Healthy Living While Practicing Physical Distancing
- Staying Active
- Dealing with Stress and Staying Calm
- Eating Healthy
- Smoking Cessation
- 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.
- Ottawa Public Health
- Ontario Government
- World Health Organization | VIDEO: How Do You Protect Yourself?
- Coping with Stress and Anxiety re: COVID-19
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Health Canada: Notice about Ibuprofen and COVID-19
- Canadian Cardiovascular Society (multiple webinars for cardiac patients)
- Heart and Stroke Foundation
- Heart and Stroke Foundation | Webinars
- Diabetes Canada
- COVID-19 and Pregnancy
- Patient Information about Coronavirus Disease
1. Clinical Appointments and Scheduled Programming at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute
As the pandemic continues to evolve, please check the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) website for regular updates.
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.
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.
Virtual Resources for Heart Healthy Living
- Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Cardiac Rehabilitation Top 10 Tips | University of Ottawa Heart Institute
- 2020 Virtual Healthcare Checklist | Heart and Stroke
1. Staying Active
Getting Started with Exercise
- HeartWise Exercise App | University of Ottawa Heart Institute
- JUMP IN for Women’s Heart Health | Exercise Physiology and Cardiovascular Health Laboratory
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.
One of our physiotherapists, Marc Laflamme, discusses the importance of stretching and how to create a stretching routine.
Exercise to Improve Muscle Strength
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.
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
- Chair and Standing exercises: English | French. See website for more details.
- Gentle warm-up, strengthening and stretching.
- Facebook Live low impact exercises: Mon-Wed-Fri at 10:00 am (Facebook account required for live videos).
- Better strength, better balance: Daily at 7:00 am and 2:30 pm on the local Rogers Channel.
- Move 50Plus (French only)
- YMCA 360: Online Exercise Videos
- 10-minute living room workout
- Strength and flexibility exercises
- Central East LHIN Cardiac Rehabilitation Videos
- Virtual Exercise Classes by HeartWise Exercise Partners
- Virtual Exercise Classes for Champlain Region- all fitness levels, various offerings include exercises for stroke, lung programs, Parkinson's and more. For more information contact Grace at
- Want an alternative to walking? Click here for a moderate-intensity workout equivalent to a brisk 3-mile walk.
- If you have a gym membership, check your gym’s website for potential virtual options.
2. Dealing with Stress and Staying Calm
- COVID-19 Updates from The Royal Mental Health Care Centre
- Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19 | Free University of Toronto online course
- Mental Health and COVID-19 | Ottawa Public Health
- Psychological Impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Canadian Psychology Association PDF
- Guide to Living with Worry and Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty: English PDF | French PDF
- Self-Help Courses for Mental Health (Free)
- Top 10 Tips for Managing Stress
- Normal Versus Excessive Stress During COVID-19 PDF
- Managing Stress: English video | French video
- Cardiac Rehabilitation Stress Management Guide
- The Science of Well-Being
- Financial Resources and Returning to Work
Depression and Anxiety
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help address Anxiety Symptoms
- Top 10 Tips for Emotional Health
- Cardiac Rehabilitation Depression and Anxiety Guide
- Coping with stress and anxiety re: COVID-19
- Managing Fears and Anxiety
- BounceBack Ontario
- Meditation for Anxiety - Yoga With Adriene
- 5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere
- 5-Minute Calming Meditation (With Guiding Voice)
- Meditation & Mindfulness
- 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
Here are a few recommended smartphone apps by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute staff that you may find helpful.
- Top 10 Tips for Eating Healthy
- Cardiac Rehabilitation Nutrition Guide
- City of Ottawa: Fact Sheet on Food Resources
- City of Ottawa: Fact Sheet on Food Resources For Isolated Seniors
Tips and Education
- Nutrition 101: English video | French video
- Nutrition 201 Frequently Asked Questions: English video | French video
- General nutrition information: English video | French video
- Sodium Reduction: English video | French video
- Meat and Fish: English video | French video
- Increasing Vegetables: English video | French video
- Increasing Fruit: English video | French video
- Dairy: English video | French video
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. 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.
- University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s Nutrition Guide
- VIDEO: Health Food Demo by our registered dietitian
- Dietitians of Canada
- Heart and Stroke Foundation
- Diabetes Canada
Prepared Meals, Meal Kits and Produce Delivery Services
While home-cooked meals are the ideal option, sometimes prepared foods can be helpful. 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.
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.
- Managing Stress and Anxiety
- Managing Cravings and Withdrawal
- Relapse Prevention - Getting Back on Track
- Smoke-Free Living
- Blog – Tobacco Control
- Risk Factor Management: English video | French video
- University of Ottawa Heart Institute's Quit Smoking Program
- Pathways to Smoking Cessation
The HeartWise Podcast is produced by the Division of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Each episode of HeartWise Podcasts provides reliable information and practical tips to help you start making heart-healthy changes to your life today. Tune in for reliable information and practical tips to help you start making heart-healthy changes to your life today.