AF Association
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Stroke improvement class

Its OK, my rivaroxaban is doing its stuff, it is a swimming class!

I felt I needed to do something more structured than pottering in the garden to get fitter, specially after reading about AFers whose complaint is they can't work out in the gym as much etc etc (sickening, frankly) and as I can't walk far my husband and I decided swimming was the answer so to start off we signed up for the aforementioned Stroke Improvement Class.

I thought I'd check with my GP first, she said if I promised to stop as soon as I had any discomfort I could 'have a go'. With those encouraging words ringing in my ears I trotted (OK limped) off last week. I had a great time but established that my main problem is my breathing.

This week I nearly didn't go because I had two days of asthma earlier but I felt better so I 'had a go'. Naughty me. No prizes for guessing I am now in AF.......

Question is, was that a one off? Shall I try again? And if I keep trying will I get fitter or sicker?

Of course I shall try again but I'm interested to hear your experiences.

5 Replies

From my own experience I tended to overdo any exercise at the beginning and swimming was one of those exercises which for some reason made me very competitive, so I dropped back gradually, and paced myself and only competed with myself then. For you it would make it more difficult if you have asthma but hey the breathing is the key to any asthma so I would keep trying, but cut your aspirations in half to start with, Let your instructor know if you have one and try to cut down on any other activity on that particular day or have rests in between.


At my last appointment with my cardiologist, my biggest complaint was that I was having less and less tolerance for exercise. I have always been very active, not overweight, and no other health concerns. I explained to him that I was consistently having to leave the gym because even gentle exercise (walking on the treadmill) was causing me to go into AFib. I would get so frustrated, and have to just turn back and go home. The equipment at my gym has a built in feature that requires you to take your pulse after every few minutes. As soon as I would go into AFib and was forced to take my pulse, the machine would shut down and would not let me continue until my pulse was normal again. It was awful! So sorry you're going through this! - KeL


I am trying to get fit but taking it gradually. Doing a little light trampolining, step machine, walking with the dog every day... I am sure some level of fitness helps, but you have to try not to do so much as to trigger AF and I'm guessing that will be different for everyone...


Yoga, Pilates and T'ai Chi all have you thinking about co-ordinating your breathing rhythm with your movements. The concentration alone helps me not go into AF and although I am not asthmatic I think it might help there too. My preference is Pilates with a good teacher. Yoga was too difficult and boring and T'ai Chi worsened the arthritic pain in my hip. Pilates is very like swimming on dry land.


Thanks for those ideas, I know I'm being difficult but I'd be very restricted in all of those as a large part of my spine is fused. I had degenerative scoliosis which is partly responsible for my breathing problems. Also it is more convenient for my husband and I to work together and he wants to swim!


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