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456073 tn?1206459977

How Does One Exercise With Premature Ventricular Contractions?

Hi.  I've been reading this forum with comments from individuals about getting PVCs during exercise and after exercise etc.  I've recently been diagnosed with PVCs by my cardiologist, wore a recorder and recorded some "events" that contained runs of PVCs.  He wants to start me on a Beta Blocker, but I'm looking perhaps for another way to live with these or cure these before I have to start on a Beta Blocker.  I do have a bicuspid aortic valve with stenosis and regurgitation, but my cardiologist says - not time for an artificial valve yet...  My question is - How are all these people on this forum actually exercising with the PVCs????  Until 6 months ago, I was active, running, walking, etc.  Now, when I try to run - as I did today - 25 steps of running - the PVCs start and feel continuous to me, until I slow down and return to a normal walk.  Since I've read that PVCs can disrupt or alter the flow of blood - how is it possible to exercise with pretty steady PVCs going on?  It doesn't feel right.  My body seems to tell me - STOP - not continue - if PVCs are happening.  My doctor is recommending a stress test before he gives me the okay to resume my exercise, but of course this is dependent on me starting the Beta Blocker.  I'm so frustrated by this, and gaining weight because I can't exercise.  I'm 49, female.  Probably 15 pounds more than I should be weight wise right now.
15 Responses
Avatar universal
I have PVC's and I continue to exercise.  However, there is a difference than in my pre-arrhythmia days .  I don't have the intensity I once had and it takes me a good half hour to get past the "I really really really want to stop" or "I can't do this" stage.  Once I get my heart rate past a certain point, the PVC's settle down.  When I run, I stop frequently for rests during the first half hour.  After that, it's not too bad.  And you are right, it never feels right initially but I have been assured by my doctors that it is good to work out.

I had an ablation for SVT about 10 weeks ago and no longer have those symptoms.  However, the PVC's, although not as bad as a month ago, are a constant companion.  I don't take any medication for them and do my best to avoid triggers (although I do occasionally give in to a glass or two of wine).  

As long as you have been given the go-ahead by your doctor to exercise, try and persevere.  I even continued running (more plodding) with SVT which was extremely difficult.  I've accepted the fact that I'll probably struggle at times.  Exercise is my "prozac" and has greatly helped me deal with this condition.

Good luck.
Avatar universal
I am having the same problem.  I even asked my EP if I could get some physical therapy to learn how to excercise with PVC's. He said you can do anything, you don't need PT. I guess that made him feel better, but it did nothing for me. So Iam still hanging out there not knowing what to do. I find that even if I walk to fast the PVC's get bad. Also whem the PVC's are not to bad, I don't want to do anything that might make them worse. I was very active before the PVC's became a daily problem. I excercised and rode my horse daily. I've backed off everything.
456073 tn?1206459977
Thank you BOTH very much for your post.  It helps me understand this a bit more.  I have noticed that if for some miracle I manage to ramp my heart rate up to a level that I would call an "exercise" rate, that I can continue at the rate for a bit.  Slow increase seems to be the key.  I haven't tried that in a few months, but may try that approach.
Artskip - I too get PVCs just walking briskly.  Sorry to the doctor's on this board, but sometimes the patient communication just isn't there on this issue!  I don't have stress - I'm an early retiree and 6 months ago, no PVCS, today PVCs everywhere - nothing changed - if I had less stress I believe I would be a stone.  So it ain't in my mind and it ain't stress.  The best way I can describe this is that it has been like going from age 49 to age 99 in 6 months which is, understatement, very disheartening!!    Ludicrously, how many times have you read in the health info - "listen to your body, it will give you the right signals"....blah...blah??.  Then, when we DO feel our heart beats out of whack, we're told - don't worry about it - many people have them and can't feel PVCs at all.  Well, we ain't those people.    Its too bad really.... tongue-in-cheek-  I believe in some individuals, PVCs could be used as aversion therapy - approach the fridge - get PVCS - instant diet.  Spending too much money - invoke PVCs if approaching the mall.  Okay, I'm being silly, but PVCs are like aversion training - they seem to want to train one to avoid exercise.  I am trying the magnesium that I've read about on this forum.   Just got some last night.
Here here!  Too many doctors tell people it's stress.  Luckily the doctor I'm seeing now is taking it seriously.  Sadly I don't think doctors read these forums, the doctor's section maybe, but not these personal experiences....really, I don't think so.  Any doctor reading this, prove me wrong, I'd love to see it.
Avatar universal
I know how you all feel. I've been there many times. However, as someone who has over 20,000pvc/day, I find the only time I don't get them, is when I exercise and get my heart rate over 125bpm.

That's not very high, but all the while up to that point, it's bigeminy, trigeminy, couplets, triplets, etc.

I saw an EP recently and he just smiled when I told him that. Yes of course, they are benign he said, it's what they do, they go away if your heart rate goes high enough to have the normal circuitry(sp?) take over. If you've been cleared (no issue of ischemia) then the best thing to do IS exercise, go out and do what you enjoy. Please, if you let them, pvcs will rob you of life, even if they don't take your life. I've lost a lot of life to my pvcs.

But I struggle with it every day, I struggle to stay on top, to make sure I win. I've had a break since seeing the EP, several minutes, if not hours without noticing a single one, but this morning as I woke up, bigeminy, banging my shoulder, thumping in my ear. I just thought, give me peace let me sleep a little longer. But no such luck.

I really have had to power through the thoughts that I'm making them worse by doing some of the activities that I do. But geez, whether I'm doing something or not, I still get the pvcs. I agree that initially you might feel the pvcs more just because your heart is working harder, but exercising your body will keep your heart more healthy and your mind more clear.
upbeat633 thank you. I have recently started to have PVC and not taking any beta blockers. I heard magnesium can be a good way to lessen PVC.. So I am including  bananas and dark chocolate in my diet. This morning I started to workout, and I felt minor PVC's running.. That scared the **** out of me. But later after a few minutes rest, I started to work out again and after few sets it was gone. But I still had a few this day.. The most scariest thing is, you start to feel weak from the inside.. Which you should not, but cannot help.

Good for you!  Keep working out.  Eventually you will be very glad you did.
Avatar universal
Somehow it helps to know I'am not alone with this problem. Limoges9,I can totally relate to the 49 to 99 thats how I feel. Upbeat633, your right they don't take your life but they have robbed me of living my best life.
Sueinns did you have PVC's before the abation? It seem from what I've read an ablation is good for tachy problems but not so much for PVC's.
Avatar universal
Yes, I did have PVC's before the ablation and you are right, they are harder to treat.  Mine are also multifocal (more than one spot) which makes it even harder.  While they were doing the ablation, the EP said "there's a PVC" - I should have told her to go ahead and burn the sucker.

I agree with upbeat that you can't let them win.  I can ignore them for the most part.  The minute I give them any thought, I notice them.  It makes me wonder if they ever take a rest because when I check my pulse, it's rarely in sinus rhythm.  

Limoges, I am 51 and I got my first episode of SVT at 49.  It coincided with a bad bout with the flu.  Had the odd PVC prior to but they too got much worse.  There are many factors but I do think hormones play a key role for women.  Some find that their palpitations improve greatly after menopause.  I'm still waiting.

Meanwhile good luck with the magnesium.  It does help some people.
61536 tn?1340701763
I have been exercising with PACs (same thing, just from the atrium) for two years now.  It started up in March 2006 and had not relented.  I refuse to let it stop me.  My cardiologist and the doctors here have assured me and others that the risks posed by giving up exercise pose more danger than benign palpitations.  If your doctor has deemed them benign in nature, the best thing you can do is stay consistent with your workouts, eat healthy and do what you can do right.

Now, I've found yoga to be of particular benefit with PVCs when I have them (yes, I get those too).  The breathing technique is most helpful, because you can use it if the PVCs act up even if you don't have time to stop and actually do yoga.  I highly recommend Yoga For Dummies!  I've tried a bunch of yoga videos and that one is still my favorite.  Hope this helps!
Avatar universal
I have yoga for dummies. I'am going to get the vcr up a running and give it a try. Can you feel the difference between a PAC and a PVC?
Avatar universal
I found this string quite helpful to read over.   I am female, 40 years old, quite physically fit.. I was a weightlifter up until 2 mos. ago when my pvcs flared up.  I am scared to do my workouts!! and I miss them so.   the workouts were what got me thru stressful times.   I had a holter 2 weeks ago which showed 14 pvcs in 24hrs, 2 eposides of bigeminy.  I go for an exercise/echo on Wednesday and I hope it all turns out relatively ok so I can start my workouts again at least with the knowledge that I am not harming my heart.

take care everyone,
637910 tn?1454710180
That is a good string, I was wondering about exercise too (I do admire GreenDave who climbs mountains for goodness sake!). Over the years I have found that too much exercise isn't good for me. But walking, and a stationery bike, and yoga are all fine with me. If I overdue it, my body (i.e. heart!) tells me. So do listen to you body and try and support it as much as you can. We have this condition and need to live with it, somehow, a best we can. Not pleasant, but one does get better at it, with time (I obviously have a good time at present, with not too many pvc's, listen to me when I'm in the bad cycle again :). So good to be able to come to this forum and read about others.
Avatar universal
I have been struggling with PVCs and APCs for over twenty years. I would consider myself a person who does some fairly extreme endurance events. I have done marathons, triathlons and double century bike rides and the one thing I can tell you is that if you let these beats play with your mind you will lose. I have folded mentally numerous times. Thank God for my cardiologist and all his support. Once you have ruled out any underlying heart disease and get the green light to go ahead with everything as normal DO IT!!!!  Trust is key to a somewhat normal life. My cardiologist calls them hiccups and nothing more.  In my case my first real bout with PVC/APCs came after an injury. I was 29yrs old and in fantastic shape. I had broken my foot and within 2 weeks I felt the abnormal beats consistently. It freaked me out. I remember thinking I was going to die. Little did I know that anxiety was making it worse.  I had an EPS but no ablation. I don't tolerate beta blockers well. My resting HR on them was dipping into the low 30s. Naturally from all the exercise my heart rate is in the upper 50s. So for the past 20yrs I have been managing them with lifestyle and trust. I have trace amount of regurgitation in my mitral and aortic valve. I also have an abnormal EKG. Inverted t waves as well as elevated waves. I get the PVC/APCs at rest and as of late during exercise. I guess the reason I am even writhing any of this to
let you know that you're not alone. I tell myself that this is the kind of thing you die with not from. It's actually made me appreciate life more. My best advice........go live!!!
I never looked at it that way. I have been suffering from PVC just about a year now. I'm trying to teach myself to get used to them. Took beta blockers but dipped HR into the 40s. Which for me that makes me feel very slow and dizzy. So I got off all meds. Now I don't even go to the gym. When I do I get panic attacks. I never thought to look at PVC as hiccups.
Avatar universal
Thank you and everyone else so much for your comments. I cried after I read them.  I thought I was alone and to anyone else suffering in the same way have faith, it'll get better.  When I had PVCs and VT I didn't see a point in living and felt betrayed by my body.  I used to exercise on a daily basis for years.  I would bring my heart rate easily into the high 170s without even feeling anything.  Every workout had 30 minutes of running at 6mph followed by push ups , pull ups and weight training.  My blood pressure was low and resting heart rate was in the lower 50s.  Then after I took an 8 month break and tried to resume suddenly the PVCs stopped me in my tracks.  I tried to start slowly to build up but that too didn't work.  Finally I said F'@#@ this I'm going to do it!  And guess what?  Today I'm back jogging again DESPITE the PVCs.  I've been doing this now for the past year.  Of course I went to a cardiologist for a full workup including a stress test before engaging in exercise again.  I'm in my early 40s and like the other poster exercise can be considered medication on its own.  My cardiologist didn't want to prescribe Beta Blockers for me.  He said "...this white paper with the stress test results should give you confidence to go out there and take back your life."  You can do it but of course be cleared by your cardiologist.  In my case I went to two for a second opinion to be absolutely certain.

While jogging i sometimes get two, three PVCs in a row, sometimes even followed by what I think are brief bursts of ventricular tachycardia.  It's super scary.  The tachycardia episodes were bad when I first tried to get back to running.  I think the bouts of tachycardia were exacerbated by the anxiety the PVCs gave me.  Sort of like a vicious circle the PVCs made me stop exercising which made me less aerobically fit which made the PVCs increase.  Once I started exercising the PVCs have gone from occurring when my heart rate was in the 120s to occurring only now and then when my HR goes above 150.  Anyway this is a longwinded way of saying keep up your exercise even if it's a slow walk every day. Remember, it's not how high your heart rate goes that matters but how long you exercise.  Just walking for 60 minutes is enough so long as you find a way to get that in at least five days a week.  
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