Abnormal Heart Rhythms and Exercise

An abnormal heart rhythm is when your heart beats too fast or too slow or when the beats are irregular. If you’ve been diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm or suspect you have one, you may be wondering what impact exercise could have on your heart. Should you exercise if you have an abnormal heart rhythm? Could it make it better or worse?

In general, exercise is good for your heart and is specifically recommended for some abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation. Here’s what you should know about abnormal heart rhythms and exercise.

First, see your doctor

If you suspect you have an abnormal heart rhythm, see your doctor or contact the Oklahoma Heart Hospital to make an appointment with one of our physicians. It’s important that a doctor evaluates your symptoms and runs tests to diagnose your specific type of abnormal heart rhythm, as there are many possibilities.

Start slow but keep moving

If you haven’t been exercising regularly in the past, start slow with your exercise plan. Begin with walking about 10 minutes per day and slowly build up your distance and your intensity over time. The general recommendation is to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days per week, so make that your goal but work up to it over time. Moderate intensity workouts can include walking, biking or swimming at a moderate pace and activities like yoga or dancing.

Consider a cardiac rehab program

Depending on your specific type of irregular heart rhythm and your history of other heart disease, your doctor may recommend a cardiac rehab program like the one offered at Oklahoma Heart Hospital. This program allows you to begin working out in an environment that’s monitored for your safety and helps give you the confidence needed to continue workouts on your own.

Listen to your body

As you exercise, pay attention to your body and how you are feeling. Stop and rest if you feel lightheaded or dizzy or experience palpitations. If these symptoms occur when you exercise, talk to your doctor about further evaluation or treatment of your abnormal heart rhythm.

Have questions about abnormal heart rhythms and exercise? Contact the Oklahoma Heart Hospital today to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.