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Exercise during Afib


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#1 twal

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:10 AM

I am a long time runner who went into Afib about three weeks ago. (I had mitral valve repair surgery 10 years ago.)

For now, I'm on a blood thinner and beta blocker but I haven't had any relief. It still have chest pains and get out of breath easily.

I'm 61 years old and a competitive runner. My cardiologist said to not push myself when I'm in afib and I've just restricted myself to 2-3 mi of easy jogging each day. (If I try to push myself or run up a big hill, I run out of breath in no time.) I don't want to lose conditioning by taking a complete rest.

Does that sound like a reasonable level of effort or am I doing damage?

If I don't come out of Afib in about 3 weeks, he's going to do cardioversion.

#2 cueball

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 05:11 PM

I am a long time runner who went into Afib about three weeks ago. (I had mitral valve repair surgery 10 years ago.)

For now, I'm on a blood thinner and beta blocker but I haven't had any relief. It still have chest pains and get out of breath easily.

I'm 61 years old and a competitive runner. My cardiologist said to not push myself when I'm in afib and I've just restricted myself to 2-3 mi of easy jogging each day. (If I try to push myself or run up a big hill, I run out of breath in no time.) I don't want to lose conditioning by taking a complete rest.

Does that sound like a reasonable level of effort or am I doing damage?

If I don't come out of Afib in about 3 weeks, he's going to do cardioversion.



#3 cueball

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 05:30 PM

Northeast Pa., my old home town area.
I would get a more specific answer from someone like sports medicine MD or request help from nurse at Cleveland Clinic via email, chat or call.
I have noted that my doctors want to skirt answering such questions. Probably fears of being sued. It is a touchy and complicated issue I would guess. IF u get some answers please let me know.
I am taking it easy with moderate walking a mile or so with hand weights in play, 4 or 5 days week. Been doing this for a couple years before onset of A.Fib. and still do since first a.fib. Sept., 09.
Live Strong,
Cueball

#4 MajorHart

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:09 PM

I am a long time runner who went into Afib about three weeks ago. (I had mitral valve repair surgery 10 years ago.)

For now, I'm on a blood thinner and beta blocker but I haven't had any relief. It still have chest pains and get out of breath easily.

I'm 61 years old and a competitive runner. My cardiologist said to not push myself when I'm in afib and I've just restricted myself to 2-3 mi of easy jogging each day. (If I try to push myself or run up a big hill, I run out of breath in no time.) I don't want to lose conditioning by taking a complete rest.

Does that sound like a reasonable level of effort or am I doing damage?

If I don't come out of Afib in about 3 weeks, he's going to do cardioversion.


I exercise alot too and always had some afib but much worse lately. I have no problem doing 60 minutes on my exercise bike and lifting weights. I'm 74 and wondering if I will be able to continue my exercises.

I had a cardioversion in the fall of 2007 and it stopped the afib for about one year. Then it returns but until very recently was rare and mild.
Cardioversion usually doesn't effec a lasting cure.

Wishing you great success.

#5 twal

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:27 PM

Thanks for the information and the good wishes. I'm still in afib and still trying to run and bike a little. However, I get winded very easily going up even a slight hill that I would barely notice before afib. I can get my heart rate up to about 170 which seems kind of strange, given that beta-blockers are supposed to slow down your heart.

I'm going back to my cardiologist in another week. The options for now appear to be electrical cardioversion, drug cardioversion or some combination. I realize the electrical method may not last long but I don't like the potential side effects of the drugs.

I'm thinking of asking for a Holter monitor to get a better handle on what is going on in my heart, especially when I'm exercising. I don't think that a 10 sec EKG lying on my back gives a very complete picture of my condition.

Any other suggestions?

#6 MelindaR

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:25 AM

Hi. I'm new to this forum. I'm a 69 year old female and I am used to exercise walking for 1.5 hours a day. In mid January of this year while Snowbirding in Florida, I began to experience serious shortness of breath and increasing sleep issues finally resulting in having to sit in a chair for most of the night. The Dx was a-fib with enlargement. My HR was 180 and BP 160/100 on average. I'm now on Bisoprilol, Lasix and Ramipril (all with nasty side effects) and, to my dismay, they have cut off my NSAID's (Celebrex) which kept my ostoearthritis of the knees in check. I am still easily out of breath but the pain in my knees, hips and back is getting worse. Does anyone have any ideas on safe meds to control the discomfort in my joints that would allow me to resume my walking routine? Tylenol is not very effective and narcotics make me very 'dopey'.
Thanks,
MelindaR

#7 SWD

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 07:11 AM

Hi. I'm new to this forum. I'm a 69 year old female and I am used to exercise walking for 1.5 hours a day. In mid January of this year while Snowbirding in Florida, I began to experience serious shortness of breath and increasing sleep issues finally resulting in having to sit in a chair for most of the night. The Dx was a-fib with enlargement. My HR was 180 and BP 160/100 on average. I'm now on Bisoprilol, Lasix and Ramipril (all with nasty side effects) and, to my dismay, they have cut off my NSAID's (Celebrex) which kept my ostoearthritis of the knees in check. I am still easily out of breath but the pain in my knees, hips and back is getting worse. Does anyone have any ideas on safe meds to control the discomfort in my joints that would allow me to resume my walking routine? Tylenol is not very effective and narcotics make me very 'dopey'.
Thanks,
MelindaR

Hello, I am also new, and I am so thankful for this website. Re: Arthritis: I stopped ALL sugar, sugar substitues, sweeteners of all kinds and I am pain free. It took a few weeks to really notice that I wasn't in pain any more. To me it has been worth the effort and I do not miss it, In fact, Iate a brownie a few weeks back- and I instantly felt bad. I was hypoglycemic, but since my "no sugar" effort, I haven't had one of those episodes in months. I get enough natural sugars in fruits,and vegs. Some experts suggest starting slow, because it is an addiction. Start out monitoring your intake and keeping all sugars below 20 grams a day. soon you'll get to 0 grams a day and then you can walk up and down stairs without doing the two step.

#8 MelissaM

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 09:15 AM

Hello, I am also new, and I am so thankful for this website. Re: Arthritis: I stopped ALL sugar, sugar substitues, sweeteners of all kinds and I am pain free. It took a few weeks to really notice that I wasn't in pain any more. To me it has been worth the effort and I do not miss it, In fact, Iate a brownie a few weeks back- and I instantly felt bad. I was hypoglycemic, but since my "no sugar" effort, I haven't had one of those episodes in months. I get enough natural sugars in fruits,and vegs. Some experts suggest starting slow, because it is an addiction. Start out monitoring your intake and keeping all sugars below 20 grams a day. soon you'll get to 0 grams a day and then you can walk up and down stairs without doing the two step.



Thanks for your reply, SWD. I believe many people feel better with less sugar intake, so that is a good idea. I'm not sure it will help alleviate afib, but it's worth talking to a doctor about. We're glad you also like the website.

Melissa @StopAfib

#9 FredN

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:39 PM

Thanks for the information and the good wishes. I'm still in afib and still trying to run and bike a little. However, I get winded very easily going up even a slight hill that I would barely notice before afib. I can get my heart rate up to about 170 which seems kind of strange, given that beta-blockers are supposed to slow down your heart.

I'm going back to my cardiologist in another week. The options for now appear to be electrical cardioversion, drug cardioversion or some combination. I realize the electrical method may not last long but I don't like the potential side effects of the drugs.

I'm thinking of asking for a Holter monitor to get a better handle on what is going on in my heart, especially when I'm exercising. I don't think that a 10 sec EKG lying on my back gives a very complete picture of my condition.

Any other suggestions?



#10 Bulldog36420

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:38 PM

I'm 37 and in constant A-Fib. I went from running a half-marathon in April under 2 hours to struggling to get in a slow 5k. First cardioversion try coming soon...

#11 twal

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:51 PM

Good luck on the cardioversion.

I went through it in April and have been good since although I'm still having irregular heartbeats. I wore a Holter monitor recently and had about one PAC (premature atrial contraction) every 6 seconds. My caridologist says it's not likely to kill me as long as I stay on beta blockers and blook thinners.

#12 Bucky

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:21 PM

Newbie here. I was diagnosed with Afib nearly two years ago. It was always a little light headeness following a period of inactivity, followed by climbing a ladder, walking to an elevated green and lasted only briefly, maybe a minute tops.  Then one day while playing bridge it just didn't quit.  I sat in my car and it got better but I still drove to the emergency room where I was diagnosed. Was placed on Flecainide and baby aspirin.  Had three minor reoccurances in 2011 and had none in 2012 until this past week.  If I was home, I sat or lay down and was ok within minutes.  If I was out, I just kept on going about my business and so far have recovered quickly. I've never been bothered during exercise but have stopped everything but long slow walks. 

 

My worst attack occurred the day we were putting down our 13 year old boxer.  My wife is convinced that was relevant. My doctor didn't.

 

My main problem with Afib at this point is that it scares me. I plan to speak to the doctor about more exercise, biking, Kayaing or elliptical. I'm nearly 70 now but have a lot of energy and strength.



#13 DonMc

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:27 AM

twal, (a poster) I bought a Fingertip Oximeter like they use in the hospital. Its my substitute for a Holter Monitor. You can't use it if you are exercising aggressively but you can check your heart at any time during your waking hours... quite useful to discover when you are in Afib and to what degree. However, I can "feel it" when I am in Afib and confirming it over and over doesn't cheer me up so much. I was thinking it may help me track the triggers but from reading some other post I wonder if there are any triggers.
I agree with SWD and MelissaM on the intake of sugar. C6-H12-O6... that's sugar. Your body can make it from just about anything you can put in your mouth, chew up and digest. Eating it is just for fun but otherwise the stuff may be bordering on useless.

On the topic of exercise, I assume that to back off some is wise, however, I prefer swimming although any cardio exercise that a person's body can handle is probably a good thing. Then I "wonder"... if my heart is beating too fast, why not do something that fits that heart rate!?!?!... duh, I don't know.  But, getting older, at least swimming is more "womb like" and the weightlessness combined with exercise is easy on the joints.
Thinking more about Melinda (pretty name) I would hope that a combination of avenues may alleviate those debilitating ailments. Systematic diminished eating, lessen simple carbohydrates, increase complex carbohydrates, drink extra water, no fat, lean, lean meat... in a way, do what fitness coaches may suggest to a person trimming down. Not in an effort to trim down but to simply take diet out of the equation as a source of inflammation. Parallel to that, do some reading... can that combination of meds contribute to the joint problems? The time of day they are taken, if they are taken together, maybe the doctor may can spread the doses out rather than all at once. Then, floating in water... its gotta be good way to exercise the joints...
And Bucky... man. Sorry about your dog... I felt blue for two years after my dog died... one thing for sure, when we feel happy our bodies generally seem to work better and likewise, when emotionally wrecked, appear to function less well. I come down on your wife's side.
As for me, at almost 65, I am on Pradaxa but no other medication... but that could change at any time. I'm saying my prayers and being a good boy. I live in China and do a lot of TaiChi. It doesn't "stop" Afib but it doesn't invite it either.


Things have changed. On May 23,2014 I had bypass surgery that replaced 5 different arteries on sections of my heat. I came out of the surgery with no AF. About 6 or 7 months before the surgery, I had AF 24/7 but with no significant symptoms. As part of the surgery I had the left atrerial apendage closed off to reduce chance of stroke. Now I have paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

Afib induced "occipital" located stroke 2011. 99.9% recovery. Blood pressure normal. No significant Afib symptoms. Pradaxa, 150mg twice a day (blood thinner), Vasorel 20mg 3 times a day (to increase the heart muscles ability to uptake oxygen), Crestor/statin 7.5 mg once a day (to attempt to remodel atrium) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (to try and control rate and rhythm). Irregular heart beat but not exceeding the mid 90's. Most often between 60's to 80's.


#14 jedmondsmith

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:23 AM

I am also new to this site . I have just been diagnosed with Afib - symptoms were :-  getting more breathless when cycling and finding the hills difficult , I thought it was just age, but a friend checking my pulse identified an irregular rate.  An ECG diagnosed Afib .   I am a fit 74 year old woman and have been cycling regularly with a club for the past 15 years or so, doing approximately 20 - 30 miles ..Over the past month or so have done trips of 18 - 25 miles without too much problem except for a very hilly one .  Before knowing about the Afib I had organised to cycle to Paris (I live in the UK) in some weeks time.  I am at the stage where I have been prescribed aspirin and have a cardilogist appointment , but not until well after the Paris ride would be finished.  I am intending to do the Paris trip - we will take it relatively slowly - 24 miles a day max. along a cycle way based on an old rail track, so no cars and relatively straight .  I wonder if anyone else has continued their exercise in the same way ?

 

Joyce



#15 runner69

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:42 AM

I am just turning 69; usually average 1000+ miles per year running; last marathon was 12/12. I was diagnosed with afib in 3/13. I currently alternate between a 4 mile and 3 mile run a minimum of 5 days per week. I keep daily records of my activities including afib. Like most runners with this condition, I am adjusting my physical activities to see what works best for me. Realistically, I don't believe that I will ever run another marathon but I am seeling the limits of what is safe for me to do. Hope this helps. One thing for sure, the exercise is too important for me to quit altogether.



#16 KBwankenobi

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:33 AM

I am new to this site. 57 diagnosed with AFib about a year ago, but getting worse as of late. Have always been very athletic, played hockey until early 50s. Cardiologist prescribed Metropolol which I refused to take because of the side effects. Now rely on running, biking and weight training to stay fit. I wear a Garmin heart monitor when I run. Many times I have been in Afib when I begin to run (monitor has shown as high as 200BPM) but I soon go into normal rhythm. (Usually after a mile or two). Is that weird? Like many of you, am trying to ID triggers. Sleep habits seem to be a part of it. I also live in Denver, sleep apnia capital because of the altitude. Should probably get test for that.

#17 jedmondsmith

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:36 AM

Thanks for the responses , it's good to know that people are continuing their chosen exercise. Just being diagnosed  and not yet having seen the cardiologist I felt a bit anxious . This site has been a great boost and source of information. Go well



#18 KIPPERMAN

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:19 PM

I am an active 71 year old. Work out in gym 5 days a week , 3 days weights and 2 days brisk walking on treadmill for 50 minutes.I've had afib for about a year and a half. At first it didn't bother me and all I took was Warfin. About 6 months ago it got much worse and I was always in afib, My pulse formerly in the low 60's is now in the low 90's. I have had 2 cardioversions and 10 days ago an ablation. I was also on Ryhmol which didn't work. I was out of afib for a week following the ablation but for the past 2 days I have been back in afib. The doctor is considering another cardioversion if I stay in afib. All very disappointing. Question has anyone had a similar experience and have they continued with gym work? Going to the gym is very important to me.

#19 mailman

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 02:29 PM

Kipperman, shortly after my ablation I had trouble with weight bearing exercises like running and lifting weights.  I found that during the first 3 months post ablation, I had better luck with non weight bearing exercises like swimming and bicycle riding.  You might try some of these exercises until your heart heals from the ablation.

 

Jim


AFIB diagnosed December 2011
RF Catheter Ablation April 2012

#20 trailrunningman

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 02:28 PM

Before having an ablation 2.5 weeks ago, I found that running on 2 consecutive days, 6 miles each day, would terminate my episode on the second day during or within the hours after the second run. My Echo Stress result and 0 CHAD score and my EP told me I was in really no danger running while I was in AFIB if I felt ok doing it. Yeah was not nearly as fast and was more tired when done but worth getting myself to convert. And when I was done, it felt like I had "cheated" AFIB since for awhile I was chicken to run when in AFIB. One day, it was too depressing watching runners blow by me on my walks while in AFIB so I said screw it, I am running and not going to let AFIB stop me.  I never had a medically assisted cardioversion in the 25 years I have had AFIB. I rode it out (longest episode I had was 2 weeks). My resting rate was in the 40s due to running and AFIB took my rate into the high 60/low 70 range. It was the irregular cadence versus the speed that made it annoying.

 

I have had one 2 day AFIB episode 3 days since my ablation 2.5 weeks ago which converted either naturally or because I was put on Flecainide. I was never on rhythm control meds before the ablation but my EP is having me take them for 6 weeks after ablation. It is making me a little lethargic. It's said you can start strenuous exercise 3 weeks after the abalation so I am considering attempting a short run next week. If any of you endurance sport afibbers out there have experience exercising on Flecainide, I would be curious to hear what that was like and whether you "felt normal" once you got off it. Also I am wondering, other than a faster heart rate, does you heart "feel different" than it did before the ablation or does it feel like the same reliable heart you had when in rhythm before the ablation. BTW, indeed, when I went into AFIB a few days after the ablation, my immediate reaction was one of disappointment but I was told that it takes time for the scar tissue to form and that "extra heart beats, a racing heart, atrial fib, or skipped heartbeats commonly occur for the first 8 weeks after the procedure during recovery - you gotta wait for the scar tissue form I was advised. I haven't had any more AFIB since the 2 days bout right after the procedure so keeing my fingers crossed.  If I can lose AFIB for a few years, I will consider the ablation worth it. I tried the supplement approach but eventually that seemed to stop working although it did reduce my episodes for a few years. My active lifestyle and the heart drugs don't mix so I really only had the ablation alternative once my bouts go so frequent that it was IFFY to plan any mountain climbs, canyoneering or anything where lots of climbing was involved since trying to climb at high altitude with AFIB was exhausting and made me sick to my stomach for example...Did not want to be trapped anywhere with AFIB. Good luck with your AFIB. I appreciate the great dialogue on this topic on this forum.






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