Stroke Prevention Exercise Program (S-PEP) Signs of Exercising Too Hard

The Comprehensive Stroke and Rehabilitation Services programs at UW Hospital and Clinics have partnered to create a special exercise program for people who have had strokes. The Stroke Prevention Exercise Program or "S-PEP" has been designed to give you safe and fun exercise options to help prevent new strokes.


Man on a stationary bikeThere are normal changes in your body when you exercise. Normal changes people notice are:
  • Increased heart rate
  • Faster breathing
  • Able to talk in short sentences only
  • Sweating
  • Muscle fatigue

There are also signs you are exercising too hard and should decrease your effort. Common signs you should decrease your effort are:

  • Heart pounding
  • Being out of breath
  • Having a hard time saying more than a few words at a time
  • Being unable to maintain your level of effort for the whole workout

And there are signs that are not normal. Stop exercising and call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs:

  • Severe heart pain
  • Burning, tightness, pressure, or heaviness in your chest, neck, shoulders, back or arms
  • Extreme shortness of breath or being unable to talk
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent, skipped heart beats
  • Dizziness, light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Cramping in your arms and legs

Note: Emergency medical services phone number is 9-1-1.