From time to time, you may have heard people talk about “stress tests.” While all students know that tests can certainly be stressful, are there tests specifically about stress? And do you need to study for them?

A stress test — also commonly known as a “cardiac stress test” — is a physical test used so a doctor can learn more about how a person’s heart works during physical stress. If a doctor thinks a patient may have heart problems, such as coronary artery disease or an irregular heart rhythm, he may use a stress test to make a diagnosis.

Some heart problems are easier to uncover when the heart is beating fast during exercise. A stress test usually involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while the doctor monitors a patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing.

If a patient cannot exercise for some reason, a doctor can also give the patient medicine that will make the heart work hard like it would during exercise. This is called a “pharmacological stress test.”

Although there’s really no way to study for a stress test, there are things you can do to improve your heart health and thereby reduce the chance that you’ll ever need a stress test. Here are some simple tips to follow to help prevent heart disease:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco! Chemicals in tobacco have been linked to heart problems, such as narrowing of the arteries. Avoid smoking and using tobacco, and you’ll avoid one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day several days each week. Regular, daily exercise helps you control your weight and reduces your chance of developing other conditions that may strain your heart, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • Eat a nutritious, heart-healthy diet. Doctors recommend foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and low-fat sources of protein will help keep your heart healthy. You’ll also want to avoid saturated fat and trans fat as much as possible.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about your ideal weight and strive to achieve it. Overweight people are at greater risk of developing many different types of health problems that can endanger the heart.
  • Go to the doctor! An apple a day may chase the doctor away, but regular health screenings are important. Getting tested regularly for diabetes, cholesterol levels and blood pressure will help you detect potential problems early.

In addition to reducing the physical stress on your heart, these strategies can also help to reduce the amount of mental stress you may feel from time to time. Mental stress is that feeling you get when you’re nervous or worried about something.

Often, mental stress ends up being felt physically in the form of headaches, stomachaches or other bodily pains. Mental stress often makes us lose sleep and lose track of a well-balanced diet.

You may hear adults talk about feeling stressed. “I’m so stressed out!” can also often be heard in the hallways of many schools, especially around test time. That’s because children can feel mental stress just like adults.

Some adults don’t believe children get stressed because they don’t have jobs and the same types of pressures adults do. However, today’s children lead busy lives, too.

Schoolwork, bullies, competitive sports and family situations can all create stress in the lives of children.


28 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (12 votes, avg. 4.50 out of 5)
    • Thanks for this GREAT comment, Nick! We’ll keep the Wonders coming if YOU promise to keep visiting Wonderopolis and learning right along with us! :-)

  1. I think this was a good Wonder of the Day because I had a different idea of what a stress test was. I was able to connect this wonder with a scene from the movie, The Santa Claus. I was able to visualize Tim Allen running on the treadmill. :-) This helped me because I learned something new. It’s important to get 30 minutes of exercise a day for my heart!

    • Way to make a great personal connection to this Wonder, Mandy! We remember the scene from The Santa Clause that you are talking about, and bet lots of other Wonder Friends do, too! Thanks for sharing what you learned from today’s Wonder! :-)

  2. I never really knew what a stress test was! I saw that movie, The Santa Clause, when the guy was running on the treadmill, and I think that was the stress test. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day! :-]

    • We’re super happy to hear that you learned something new about stress tests from this Wonder of the Day®, HaydenTEAM! Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis and for being excited to explore the next Wonder! :-)

    • That’s a really nice thing to say, Isabella! We enjoy when our Wonder Friends leave us comments, and yours made us super happy today! Thanks for being such a great Wonder Friend! :-)

  3. Dear Wonderopolis
    I’m really hate stress tests, I’m still wondering do you have to study for stress tests? I’m still wondering what is tobacco. I heard that word including from my teacher, Mrs. Johnson, who read that in a book called Stone Fox. Your website is AWESOME!!!

    • Hi, Abdilahi! You don’t really need to “study” for a stress test, but you need to practice healthy habits to help “teach” your body how to handle stress when it comes along! Thanks for letting us know you wonder about tobacco. We know there are lots of other Wonder Friends who wonder about it, too. It might just be the topic for a future Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • That’s GREAT that you used the context clues to try and guess the next Wonder of the Day®, Sean! Be sure to visit Wonder #375 to find out if you were right! :-)

    • We’re glad you learned something new from today’s Wonder, Mattg! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis and leaving us a comment! :-)

    • Now you know about stress tests and some easy ways to keep your body healthy, Missy! We love learning new things, and are so happy that you do, too! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  4. When we first saw this wonder, my teacher called her dad so we could know first hand what a stress test was before reading the article. When we asked him if he had studied for his stress test, he laughed! He thought that it was ridiculous to study for a stress test. His exact words went like this, “you get on the treadmill and stay there until you fall off.” We had all guessed that it had something to do with a school test, but instead we were shocked to find out what a stress test really is. This was a really wonderful wonder.

    • That is a funny story about your teacher’s dad, Allison! We think it is GREAT that you and your classmates did a little pre-learning before you visited this Wonder! :-)

    • We’re glad you learned some awesome new things by exploring this Wonder of the Day®, Ali! Thank you for being a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


  • Wonderopolis on Facebook
  • Wonderopolis on Pinterest
  • Print

Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you need to study for a stress test?
  • How can you keep your heart healthy?
  • Can kids feel stress?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Are you stressed? Does homework or a special event sometimes make you feel sick to your stomach? Do your hands get sweaty before you take a test?

Do you ever worry so much about things going on in your life that you have trouble sleeping? Is your life so busy that you feel like it moves too fast and sometimes gives you a headache or makes you feel worried?

If so, then you understand what stress feels like. Stress is not fun, and it’s not something that only adults experience. Kids definitely can feel stress, too.

How do you respond to stress? Experts believe the best way to handle stress is to have a well-balanced life. That means making smart decisions about how you treat your body and how you spend your time.

To reduce stress in your life, keep your SELF in mind:

So be good to yourself! Eat right, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and make room in your schedule for fun. A well-balanced life will be a less stressful life!


Still Wondering

Check out National Geographic Education’s Real-World Geography: Donald Buraglio lesson to learn about the physical fitness required to be an ultramarathon runner!


Wonder Categories/Tags

Wonder What’s Next?

Was that a black cat? Watch out! Whew! That was close. We hope we’re lucky enough to make it to tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.