Exercise is a vital part of leading a healthy lifestyle. But for those with atrial fibrillation, physical activity may not be as simple as lacing up a pair of running shoes and heading out the door.
According to Healthline, many individuals who suffer from atrial fibrillation find that overexerting themselves through intense bouts of physical activity can exacerbate their irregular heartbeat, pushing their heart out of rhythm. While many take this information to mean that exercise isn't safe for those with atrial fibrillation, this simply isn't the case.
Exercise for those with this condition can be safe as long as a few key steps are followed. In fact, it can even be beneficial, as it offers the potential to strengthen the heart and develop a healthy routine.
Take a look at these tips for working out safely with atrial fibrillation.
1. Consult with your doctor. While exercise is a healthy and beneficial practice, no two individuals are the same when it comes to their needs and abilities to work out, particularly those living with atrial fibrillation. Before beginning any new exercise regimen, make sure to consult with your regular doctor or cardiologist to receive professional recommendations.
2. Warm up. It's imperative that individuals with atrial fibrillation begin each of their workouts with a warmup routine to gradually introduce their body to exercise. Try stretching and light jogging for several minutes to ready yourself for physical activity.
3. Can't stand the heat? Certain medicines used for atrial fibrillation treatment can cause an increased sensitivity to heat in patients. Be sure to avoid the heat of the day during workouts, particularly in warmer climates. Also, always keep plenty of water on hand to maintain adequate hydration.
4. Be aware. If you or your doctor are concerned that exercising too strenuously may push your heart into an irregular rhythm, it's particularly important that you wear a heart monitoring device for the entire duration of your workout. This way, you'll be immediately aware if your heart starts to leave its target rhythm or zone.
5. Take baby steps. When starting a new workout regimen or coming back into an existing one after injury, it's easy to become overzealous. It's important, though, for you to ease into a new workout plan gradually. Beginning a new exercise routine too quickly can lead to injury or worsen your irregular heartbeat.