Exercise and beta blockers

I am trying to get back to my normal pattern of exercise after a successful cardioversion a month ago. I'm on warfarin and 1.25 mg bisoprolol. My resting pulse is fairly low, around 42 as I type, but I'm not having any ill effects from that and feel generally well. I am wondering what effect the bisoprolol is having when I run as I am getting very out of breath but my heart rate doesn't feel as if it's very high. These are very gentle run / walks on as flat ground as I can find in hilly Yorkshire!

7 Replies

  • That's the effect beta blockers have I'm afraid. I was on sotalol and I got out of breath when exercising hard. The beta blocker works by reducing your HR so quite simply insufficient blood is being pumped round your body. The sotalol wasn't working properly to stop my AF. When I finally gave it up, I felt wonderful even though I was still getting AF!


  • According to my trainer at the gym (a guy who knows more about AF than any GP I have encountered) the beta blocker restricts the the HR by about 10 bpm. He stresses that it is very important to warm up slowly before exercising. He suggests 15 mins of walking on treadmill or biking at a relaxed pace and slowly increasing the HR before running or any more strenuous exercise. He also stresses cooling down in the same way. This avoids fighting the beta blocker and reduces the chance of triggering an AF episode.

  • That's really good to know... Thank you, and your trainer!

  • Treffynnon.

    Good bit of info thank you for that, I walk every day and enjoy it, we live near the coast beach walking at this time of year is interesting given the weather !

    Keep fit.

  • I take sotalol and exercise regularly in both the gym & on a road bike. It can take a little while to get going but I generally push through it. I don't become breathless but can feel extremely tired & lethargic.

    Maybe try a walking machine in the gym with a built in heart rate monitor to get some idea of how your heart rate is tracking?

  • Thank you all for your replies. I've been out this morning (leisurely half term!) and spent a lot longer on warming up and cooling down. I certainly feel better than on Monday. I ordered a HRM watch the other day so hopefully that will help as well.

  • I do not have the self discipline for repetitive gym exercises but I play golf at least 3 times a week, which involves quite a bit of walking up hill and down dale for an average of 4 hours per game and so far I have felt fine. Thankfully I do not get breathless or over tired, but like most golfers I do a few warming up swings before I start playing.

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