exercising with afib

I am so glad i was diagnosed with afib, i have stopped all alcohol, coffee and eating after 9pm.i bought some 10lb dumbells and an eliptical, use them daily, i can now run up my stairs,get a great nights sleep and never felt better,3 months ago i could hardly do up my shoe laces without getting out of breath,i have found my answer, try it, i love the energy.

44 Replies

  • I'm happy to hear that you feel better

    But couldn't understand your point , you got better after being diagnosed? How you were so tired before and now you are feeling great just by being diagnosed

    I'm sure stopping the triggers you mentioned will make a difference but will not treat it

    Maybe your problem was not AF but lack of exercises

    Wish you all the best

  • I meant to say I am glad the diagnosis was nothing worse, and it jump started me into a healthier lifestyle,I have persistent afib,I take no meds other than an aspirin as a thinner, i tried different meds, they made me lethargic.bottom line I am ahealthier person now than prior to diagnosis, thanks, B.

  • Hi again,

    Misconception ....Aspirin is not a thinner all it serves is stopping the platelets sticking together it is not a coagulant...A coagulant is a medicine which reduces the ability of the blood to clot e.g..warfarin....

    Aspirin is as much use as a chocolate tea pot in preventing strokes....c

  • I think you mean Anti coagulant, B

  • LOL Two months later...Well spotted....Hope your keeping well...Cx

  • Thanks, I am sure you are correct about aspirin, however it is widely used here in Canada as ''stroke prevention''. not sure why,it appears to be regarded as useless for that purpose elsewhere, keep well, B.

  • You know my own brother is a Dr in Canada and he doesn't see eye to eye with me over this either and refuses point blank to see my point of view ...So we have agreed to differ but that said after researching I feel much safer since taking Warfarin...Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2014..C

  • bnewman good to hear you are feeling well- do you have to take any medication- asking as I was diagnosed in August and have stopped all caffeine ( don't have alcohol ) and exercise tolerance has deteriorated sine AF started- I have slow resting pulse so can't take rate control meds Interested to hear whether you take any

  • Hi, I take no meds, I have persistent afib, I too cant take meds, they made me sleepy, no zest for anything.so no meds other than baby aspirin as a stroke deterent,my morning in bed pulse is around 70, daytime moving around around 90s, I get up to around 125 exercising, I am 65, good luck, B.

  • Hello,

    What you are experiencing now almost mirrors my own experience just less than 18 months ago...

    After the first horrendous episode of AF and not being told much about it by the medics I took it upon myself to go on a fitness regime....Three months without any alcohol at all,no caffeine,gym twice a week,swimming ,I felt great....

    I found this lovely forum and wondered what all the fuss was about..Even when BobD would often say AF begets AF...

    I felt sure that I was going to be the exception...but sadly this was not the case...

    Maybe for you it is and I sincerely hope so from the bottom of my heart...



  • hi what do you mean by horrendous episode,when you say exception do you mean you thought afib would go away, i have persistent afib , no horrendous symptoms other than a sense of fluttering some times when all is quiet. I exercise quite aggressively, and feel much better for it, B

  • Hi bnewman77

    My apologies for not explaining myself very well...Maybe I should have used a better descriptive word...Such as frightening,ghastly, alarming or all three ....

    No I never thought it would go away but neither did I believe my condition would worsen...

    Best Wishes,


  • Same for me! In between episodes I am fitter than ever but my episodes are getting more frequent and last longer. In general though I carry on exercising albeit more gently even when I have episodes as luckily although very irregular I don't get particularly high pulse rates. I'm trying to make sure my heart stays as healthy as poss. I also have quite a low pulse rates so no meds as yet.Just enjoy all the time you have free of This thing and who knows it may never get worse but even if it does you will find a way of enjoying an active life.I am probably much healthier than I would otherwise have been if I hadn't given up all my vices anyway! Good luck.x

  • hi, i dont know if afib is a heart problem or a message to the heart problem, I have persistent afib,but seem to have plenty of ability to exercise , allthough i start out slowly, also I am 65 , so would not be a 4 minute miler anyway, however the eliptical has helped in my well being department immensely, regards, B.

  • I also feel normal between episodes, but the side effects I'm having because of the beta blocker and rhythm control medication which are really annoying since I'm just like you Dedeottie naturally a low pressure person but should take drugs or second ablation but I'm still giving myself more time for recovering from my first ablation ( two months only )

    Wish you always great spirit


  • hi , i took drugs for rhytm control but had sleepy and lack of get up and go issues,so stopped everything except baby aspirin daily for thinning.i am interested to hear more about the ablation, please keep in touch , the best B.

  • And you also x

  • Have you been given the option of an ablation? I understand it is best to nip AF in the bud whilst it's still not a problem, because it gets worse, that's the nature of the beast.

    Some of the drugs are horrible, I was on one for 2 years and couldn't stand it. Affected my mind more than anything.

  • i enquired about ablation, but my specialist seem to blow it off. I am a little confused about the condition getting worse. does this mean more often or the episodes getting more intense or both.I have persistent afib,if we dont consider intensity then I presume thats as bad as it gets ?.I also tried some drugs, adalat etc. but lost all interest and enthusiasm for the things i like to do best. didnt even want to get out of bed, so I quit everything except aspirin and am back to my old self. curious about your drug side effects, regards, B.

  • Hi B

    Others will know better but from what I have picked up, I see it as a condition that develops over time. That's certainly how it's gone with me and what my EP has said in my case. The specialists we've all listened to say nip it in the bud as early as you can. My EP did that for me last year as my AF was coming back after a successful ablation, for what I would call severe AF, 8 years ago. The last ablation didn't work, as it happens, but due to be repeated soon hopefully whilst I'm still fairly OK and not needing rhythm drugs yet.

    I'm just saying, if I had AF that wasn't bothering me, but I knew what it was, then I'd be looking to get it knocked on the head whilst still at that stage.

    But maybe other people will say that it can just stay the same and you put up with it, but that's not how I understand it.

  • Hi B and Koll

    Can I just clarify one thing Bnewman, you say persistent AF, but in another post talk about having it constantly I think and I know that some will disagree with me here, but in my opinion persistent AF is having episodes continuing of any intensity even quite small ones, as opposed to say me who I would call in permanent A Fib, as my heart beat is constantly irregular but with no real episodes.

    Only because again in my opinion the way forward would be different.

    If you are persistent, or permament, but like me almost asymptomatic, then actually we have some really difficult decisions. It would appear to be a "truth universally accepted" that the earlier an ablation is done the more likely it is to succeed, however we also know that for many (and I am sorry I don't know the %) it will need a second or third ablation to then give what an 80% chance of 5 clear years, no much data over that, so hard to talk about 10 clear years for example.

    So what do we do?, well if you are persistent (still having episodes) then although the Cardios and EPs (at least most of them) don't like it, it would appear you are only ever going to get worse, and at some stage you will need either more aggressive drug therapy or an ablation, the question is when and at what stage?. An ablation is more likely to be successful for persistent than permament, but does a otherwise healthy person elect for an ablation? and if so when, as the chance of success is going down while you remain healthy, but an ablation currently could actually worsen your symptoms for the first six months or so and certainly your quality of life, and then only potentially give you 5 clear years before having to be repeated, or alternatives looked at.

    If you are permanent, like me, then the options are worse, as not only is the ablation less likely to succeed, but many of us do not know how long we have had it (I for example think I have had it for at least 6 or 7 years but am not certain) and the longer we have had it the even less chance of success for an ablation. But not all people in permament A Fib ever develop it worse, so do I hold on and wait for it to worsen?, or do I try and find someone who will do an ablation now with higher chances of success?

    I think this is actually a really hard and difficult decision, and with so many factors flying around I don't think it's clear cut either way. It's going to very much depend on your personal history and circumstances, and even on your personal attitude to risk.

    Regretably for us the way forward is somewhat of a lottery, and as I haven't won more than £10 is the 5 years or so of doing it, then I don't fancy my chances very much.

    Personally, with permanent and having had it probably 6 - 7 years an ablation doesn't give me a great deal of hope, but then at any time my symptoms could change to much worse and that decision would of necessity change. I am almost hoping that my symptoms hold off long enough for new treatments to be brought into play which deal with longer term A Fib much better, but I don't think they will. I do however think that better diagnostic techniques of the sub-types of A Fib are on their way, and those should enable and empower us to make better decisions in the future

    Sorry for the long and rambling post


  • Is there any limit to the number of ablations that can be done, or do they just stop when it becomes apparent that they're not doing any good any more?

  • Hi Ectopic

    I'm not the best person to answer this never having had one, but my understanding is that each ablation causes scar tissue to be formed inside the heart in different places, and I assume that eventually there is no room left to scar. How many ablations? don't know I think I've read of people who have had 5 not sure of more than that.


  • Hi, I think i mean persistent, constantly, permanent etc.to be never having the normal sinus rhythm, but always irregular, I also could have had this issue for 20 or more years, as I have no obvious symptoms, it was an unrelated dizzy spell that required a check up when it was first noticed.

  • Hi B

    Then I think you mean permanent (by my definition), your heart is always irregular. As opposed to persistent, where your heart will go back into NSR in between episodes of A Fib, which are continuing.

    We are then faced with the same dillemma, will it get worse, when do we treat? how long do we wait. If you have had it 20 years, then ablation would appear to have a low chance of success.

    I find it quite alarming if I am honest but just try and forget it and get on with life.


  • After being told that there's nothing wrong, I was then told that AF is no reason not to exercise. At the last count, the EP told me that I can't expect to be able to exercise with AF. Exercise had been making me unwell for years before the AF started. Even exercising at 100bpm makes me feel ropey.

  • The issue with regards to "constant" AF being harder to treat with an ablation, which I heard at the patients Day as well, is at complete odds with what my EP told me.

    I had constant AF and really bad too, I couldn't even stand most of the time without drugs. He told me that the one good thing about it being "constant" was that it would be easy to fix. He did just that, 100% immediate cure with an ablation. He also predicted that the AF would return in 5-15 years, not for definite but most likely, and that another ablation would be required but at an earlier stage of it's development. That is precisely what has happened.

    It can't be just a lucky guess on his part!

    PS. I use the word constant in a non-technical sense, just meaning I had AF the vast majority of the time, possibly all the time.

  • Thanks Koll

    Well that is really good news, I'm not sure conference was the only place I heard that, certainly there are any numbers of sites which quote permament/constant A Fib as harder to treat with an ablation.

    You were however obviously symptomatic, you mention "couldn't even stand without drugs" whereas for many of us we have no symptoms whatsoever just the constantly irregular heartbeat. I wonder if that makes a difference?


  • Hi Ian

    I've been symptomatic and asymptomatic, which I know because of being monitored when I felt perfectly fine in hospital, very strange! But generally, re the events leading up to me being diagnosed and ablated, yes, I was very symptomatic.

    It's not a case of my EP being a junior or anything like that, he's top of his "trade" and he was so definite.

    It seems to me that there's more to it. Interesting.

    PS. (Edited) I probably wasn't in permanent AF for years, it gradually built up over time (10 years???).

  • Hi ,from now on I will refer ro my afib as constant or permanent rather than'' persistant''which between us seems to be regular but not ''constant''. I am happy to hear Koll about your success with ablation.My constant afib is not hard to live with so I havnt pressured my ''free ''canadian health care providers yet with any form of intrusive treatment, regards, B.

  • Beancounter my EP guy told me that the ex rugby player Bill Beaumont has had no less than 6 ablations. His heart must be well and truly torched , my EP's words not mine :-)

  • I've just been on the Arrhythmia Alliance site and in one document in the Clinicians section, it says this...

    "AF is described as being paroxysmal, persistent or permanent.

    Paroxysmal means that the AF occurs in short episodes and the heart will return to normal rhythm by itself. These AF episodes can last for seconds, minutes, hours or even days.

    Persistent AF means that the heart remains in AF until some form of treatment is used to correct it.

    Permanent AF means that treatment to correct the rhythm has not worked, or has not been attempted (for various reasons)."

  • Thanks, then i will return to my original opinion which is I am in persistant AF.Due to no problem symptoms, have decided not to attempt any correction at this point, Thanks, B.

  • B, Could be wrong, but from what I have read about asymptomatic "silent" AF, you still have the potential problems associated with AF, except, of course you aren't having to cope with the symptoms. It is strange that it is silent, I had it sometimes.

  • Hi Koll, Where can I find details about this asymptomatic "silent" AF? I have been having a lot of the "after effects" of an AF episode without any real activity around my heart. Having a Novacor Heart Monitor fitted tomorrow, for a week, prior to an appointment with my cardiologist and that is one of the questions ( which I have been bothering my GP with ) I intended to ask about.

  • Hi kernow,

    I just Googled "asymptomatic atrial fibrillation" and took a look at a few pages on what looked like sites you could trust, but I can't be sure obviously. I was interested in whether being asymptomatic meant it was harmless, and based upon the few sites I looked at, it isn't.

    But hopefully someone else who knows will come along and tell us more.

  • Hi Kernow

    well I am your classic asymptomatic, permament A Fib, or silent as you call it. It's worth remembering that the only accurate way to diagnose AF is an ECG, and it's then pretty clear. So I am in AF continuosly, with certainly the same risks as anyone else, not going to comment on the factor of risks, but most places agree that it will only ever get worse not better, and it's harder to treat (some disagree with this)

    Your monitor will very quickly diagnose if you are in AF and when. Its relatively common, but of course what we don't know is hopw many are undiagnosed, as most people only find out when something else happens, as many doctors don't take pulses anymore then the machines will not even give you a clue.

    Good luck with the monitor

  • I am also asymtomatic, with permanent afib, mine was discovered when checking for something unrelated,I understand the risk for stroke, I suspect i have been in afib for 30 years or more with no medication or strokes, i am 65 .only recently stopped alcohol and caffeine, started eating better and exercising, afib probably wont go away now,but feel fortunate not to have unpleasant symptoms. my heart man sais it is difficult to read an afib pulse by finger etc., due to the irregularity.i tried the walmart machine a few times and get 75....94...101...and so on.only an ECG can get a reliable reading apparently.

  • Thanks Beancounter, I've nearly worn out my laptop trying to find and understand all that I can about this condition I've been lumbered with. Sorely tempted to take up fags and booze, sit on a beach somewhere warm..........if only!

  • Don't think asymptomatic means harmless- just no symptoms, but I think you would still have an irregular pulse.

    Depending on risk score, one would still need anti-coagulants to prevent stroke . Not sure about other drug treatments but have seen one video on AFA site discussing ablation which mentions asymptomatic AF.

  • Here's a link to an article on the AFA website re asymptomatic AF.


    Can't say I understand a lot of it, some big words in there, but it seems clear you are at risk of stroke with silent/asymptomatic AF. Also, it seems to say that people don't just have symptomatic or asymptomatic, you can have both. So you can have PAF, but in between the bouts that you can feel, there can be ones that are "silent", maybe even most might be silent. That was the case with me. I had terrible symptomatic AF, it disappeared or was cured in hospital, can't recall which, then I came to discharge myself because I felt 100% but the monitor said otherwise so I had to stay in till they dealt with it, which they did (drugs).

  • Yes well, I soldiered on determined to make sense of that report. I see what you mean about big words. I think I get the gist of it and certainly will be looking for some plain English answers from my cardiologist. It will be interesting to see if I have any activity around my heart with the monitor, whilst experiencing the rotten after effect type of feelings I got after or during AF episode. It's bloody complicated enough as it is.

    Thanks for that.

  • From the ESC Guidelines:

    "Recent data collected in patients with implanted devices, and by Holter electrocardiograms (ECGs) in epidemiological studies, reinforce the assumption that even short episodes of ‘silent’ AF convey an increased risk for stroke."

  • This is great and very encouraging...I've started back at the gym I walk to work 20 mins and use my stationary bike three times a week...I'm not letting AF run and ruin my life's plans I just work my way around it if I can..

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