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Avatar universal

How does one Exercise with AFIB/PAC's/anxiety?

I need to exercise and lose some weight. I have AFIB and PAC's. My afib has only happened 3 times in 5 years.
My problem is, when I start riding my stationary bike or take the dogs for a walk I'm hyper-sensitive to my heart rate
I'm overly aware of it and of course it starts taking off from my adrenaline rush. Hell, I'm either 1 minute into the ride or not even out of my driveway with the dogs when I feel I need to stop.
The point of exercise is to get your heart rate up, but certainly not like this.
I also read  that people go into AFIB or feel more PAC's when cool down AFTER the workout.
That doesn't help my outlook on each session....
How do those of you who have these arrhythmia's get past this.
Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts
19 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey Mike
Yeah I had afib also and was a guy that liked to exercise also. Having afib does make you feel like your up against a wall. Damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of thing. I liked arerobic workouts prior to my afib but felt it was actually detrimental to my heart after I got it, so I didn't workout.

The first thing you need to tackle is getting your heart back in rythum thru cardioversion,meds or some sort of invasive procedure. You probably have looked into this some already. But once I got control initially through meds I could workout again and felt it was benefiting my body/heart. Once the meds pretty much ran their coarse, took a year, I looked into a more invasive procedure. See my thread " I had the 5 box Thoracoscopic" on this site to get the details. But each person is different and needs to know where they fall in what their best options will be. I can tell you for me----so far---my choice turned out to be the correct one. But depending on your personal condition, there are many options available.

But in my mind the worst position you can take is to think you have to " just live with it" attitude.

Good luck
Avatar universal
Thanks for the reply Pete.
My heart for the most part is in rhythm. I get a few PAC's  everyday, which has been a trigger for my AF episodes, and a reminder everyday that this could happen again at any time.My problem seems to be hyper sensitive adrenaline rushes. I'm on a beta blocker each day and a regimen aspirin. My EP does not want to do an ablation since I have only one AF episode every two years. Either I have to figure out how to get my head around this or get a second opinion on an ablation.

Thanks Pete.
Avatar universal
It's difficult for me too, I'm pretty much in the same situation you are in.  I have had 2 episodes of Afib and lots of PACs and PVCs.  I was an avid exerciser but since the Afib thing I have been afraid to get my heart rate up to where I used to.  If it goes over 100, I panic.  I just quit worrying about it when I walk my dog and if I'm on the stationary bike or treadmill I keep a check on it and don't get it up past the 90s if I can help it.  And actually with the beta blockers my heart doesn't respond to exercise like it used to.  I really don't have any advice, guess I just wanted to tell you I am in the same boat and haven't quite figured out how to get out of it.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem EXCEPT I DONT HAVE AFIB...but Ive had PACs and PVCs for years.....I also need to lose weight and was TOLD to exercise after MUCH cardiac testing. I even have the start of Coronary Artery Disease...but got the all clear AND the encouragement of two cardiologists to workout. Hard. I started out with my husband (he had a heart attack in 09) working out at the hospitals cardiac fitness center. they have a program for non-cardiac patients as well, and we got a good discount because both of us went there. I went thru the program, being monitored closely by them, and then graduated and am now on my own. My cardio told me when Im having a bad PVC day, to tell the girls when I workout that Im having them. For the first 10 times ( yes, I have them ALOT) they put a monitor on me and watched my heart. Yes, I had TONS of skipped beats and was totally miserable. But..I trusted them, and I kept at it. They said they never saw anything bad on the monitor!!! Any of the times!! Now, I dont even wear the monitor. They dont care about the skipped beats!!!  They truly dont, and these are cardiac people! They tell me to just work thru them. THat is the hardest thing to do!!!!  But I do it, even tho Im thinking my heart is going to stop....it doesnt. Not yet anyways!!
995271 tn?1463927859
My take is that this is a behavioral issue.  When your heart rate starts to increase you get scared.  You get scared and stop.  The heart rate goes down.  Your reward for stopping is feeling better.

You need to break this cycle of fear.  There are two ways.  Total immersion or baby steps.  Total immersion means to keep pressing hard through the fear until you no longer fear the issue.   Baby steps would be to keep pressing further along slowly until you no longer fear.  You could set goals.  Plan this out.  You should divide it up into chucks that have you reach your goal in 8-9 weeks.

I've done both.  For me I like total immersion.  It's quicker and for some reason it leaves a lasting impression on me when I've conquered the fear.  Since you already have heart issues you might want to try baby steps.  Of course always discuss these things with your doctor.
Avatar universal
Thank you all for the replies!
I know it comes down to accepting, trusting and testing.
There's not much else we can do.
I think exercising with a buddy would be good.
Someone who understands what we go through.
Again...the responses are all very appreciated.
Avatar universal
Some of the things I have read about Afib and exercise indicate that you should not get your heart rate super high that it can actually cause your heart to go into Afib.  I don't know how true that is and I haven't asked my cardiologist.  Scared to test it to find out.  I just putter along around 95 to 100bpm and do ok.
Avatar universal
Forgot to add...before the Afib, I was not afraid to exercise.  In fact, exercising was my salvation, it decreased my anxiety and actually seemed to decrease the number of flip flops I had.  I had adjusted pretty well to the years of occassional SVT, PACs and PVCs.  Then the Afib came along and pretty much kicked my butt for a while.
1505818 tn?1289680989
I've pretty much had PVCs and PACs all my life, but after Ihit meno they became more frequent.  Last year, the PVCs were happening daily, 9 or so hours a day without a regular heartbeat and I stopped exercising because I was afriad my heart would stop.  That fear stopped me from improving my health.

So I went to a Cardiologist because my PVCs were occuring before, during and after exercise and I was just plain AFRAID.  After 24 hour Holter and a 30 day Holter, I was diagnosed with benign PVCs. I cannot take Beta Blockers because of asthma.  The Cardiologist and my GP encouraged me to start exercising again, which I did, and it seems the more in shape I get, the less problems I have with the PVCs.

Now I work out HARD 3 days a week doing water aerobics.  I still get tiny PVCs sometimes during my workout, but they go away and I haven't died from it yet.  So like someone said previously, get rid of the FEAR!!  Fear makes these things worse and tends to raise your adrenaline which will feed your fear.
Avatar universal
Right now I'm just trying to get myself to function when these skips come on strong. By functIon I mean clean up the dishes, do the laundry...anything but lie down and wait for it to pass. What's really weird is when I go to bed they completely stop. Like they are saying, "you can have a break, see you tomorrow"
As a result, when I lie down in a certain position they go away after a few minutes. This must be in my head in some ways, meaning I convince myself that my bed or couch is safe and I relax and they stop.
But I've also convinced myself other things are not safe and I expect them to come and they do, it's like I can will them. (my exercise bike and treadmill are not safe right now.
I'm working on my fear right now, that's all any of us can do I guess.
I'm going to just sit on the bike and pedal stupid slow for awhile. Work up to slow, then maybe moderately slow....
Avatar universal
Good luck, I know how hard it is.  And I do believe you can will the stupid things to come.  I know I have done it a hundred times.  And any anxiety you have about doing something could bring them on...it really is a vicious circle.  The trick will be accepting them and realizing you can have them and you aren't going to die.  This is much easier with PACs or PVCs than it is Afib.  Afib is one of the more frightening experiences I have had. I am struggling with it now too, my Afib was bought on by an extremely stressful time in my life.  I am now in a similar situation and I'm basically just sitting here waiting for it to happen.  And I know that is the worst thing I can do.  But just go about your life as best you can and try not to freak out when you feel a flop.  Congratulate yourself for the small victories.  Hang in there.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the encouragement.
I noticed you said you're just sitting there waiting for the afib to happen again.
I do that too...any time the skips come I think it's a precursor to the big one (lol)
We need to work on that very thing. Waiting for something that may not come. It's a waste of life.
The dots I connect are..."was that a skip?" -check my pulse- feel a skip- stomach drops- wait for another one - there it is - adrenaline kicks in- heart beats faster- skips come on stronger- wonder if it will become afib?- then if it does become afib- will I have a stroke?

I need to get off the roller coaster.

Thanks again.
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