AF Association
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High octane exercise!

A query for AFfers who do aerobic exercise at a gym. There's a regime which advocates doing 30 seconds max capacity on an aerobic machine, followed by 60 seconds 'recuperation' repeated 4-6 times. I feel a bit anxious about trying that....does anyone do this? Sounds like heart punishment to me! Mind you, I'm in my late sixties.

All comments gratefully received!

7 Replies

Always remember that you max heart rate should not exceed 200 less your age. Say 200 less 68 =132. When I was a regular gym goer my monitor was always set by my trainer and alarms sounded if I went over this limit. Used to remove the sensor cos I'm stupid.


PS I remember at the first ever HRC a doctor talking about stress ECG testing and how once you had finished and were getting dressed again that was when you had your heart attack. I think that is why nowadays they keep you on a couch under monitor for ten minutes after your stress test. I think his point was that it was the transition which causes most problems.

1 like

I used to go to a gym run by our local authority. Everyone has to have an induction and a session with a qualified instructor to discuss suitable exercise. Although I am not qualified to comment on the particular exercise that you mention, there were definitely some exercises and types of equipment that were unsuitable for me. Get some proper advice from someone who knows.


My first AF happened when I was at a live in boot camp. I actually LOVED it and felt like I was really achieving great outcomes. IO lost 8 kg in 2weeks from a fantastic diet and lots of aerobic exercise but I reduced my meds while I was there so I could get my HR up and had my first ever AF and had another 5 in the following 12 months all requiring hospitalisation.

SO I guess you could say I am VERY wary of any kind of strenuous exercise in relation to AF. I know if even I do a few hours of heavy gardening I could expect an AF attack that night.

For me I know strenuous exercise can be an AF trigger - is exercise one of yours? If not why not try this routine but just take it a little easier than you would like.

Build up to it -0 there is good evidence that those who do not have exercise as an AF trigger can definitely strengthen their heart with exercise -0 it is after all just a muscle :)


For me, my Afib hit while exercising or just after. When exercising if I feel my self starting to get winded or feeling real tired I just stop. I also monitor my heart rate and when I start to get in the red zone I back off or stop and catch my breath. Over exertion while exercising pushes me into Afib.


I am a swimming coach of 15 years and sprint coach (100/200metre)on the track so have covered a lot of ground with sports physiology, nutrition, sports psychology etc including coaching elite athletes the type of training you are referring to is HITT training or high intensity training there is also another form of that type of training called Sabata sequence training a formula put together by a Japanese sports scientist.

I don't know your background but you really don't need this type of training unless you are a competing athlete it does or can push your heart beyond being sensible It pushes the anaerobic levels of your energy systems.

I would go for a lower level of exercise that is more aerobic and toning using a wide variety of gym equipment......

Hope that helps


Despite the phrasing in the media, you need to be really fit to do HIIT; that's the regime that you've described. I believe that Andrew Marr was doing a HIIT session on a rowing machine and that triggered a stroke. Note that the intense part of HIIT is unlikely to register on a heart monitor during the 20 to 30 seconds, particularly if the sample time is 5 seconds (default on some Polar models) or more.

I'm 68 and I used to occasionally include HIIT on a Spin bike, until a bad reaction to dronedarone in May 2014 stopped my gym sessions. I had been working hard in the gym since I re-started at age 60. I'm currently walking and doing body weight work to get fit enough to return to the gym this April and, I won't be doing HIIT.

As to maximum heart rates for us older people, that's another area of discussion including the views of Metzl, Wisloff and, whether to include heart rate reserve. I'll save that until another day


Thank you all for your replies, they are most helpful. Don't think I'll be tempted to try reason for going to the gym is just to keep my body from completely disintegrating i.e. Maintenance rather than training!

Thanks again everybody! Keep well.



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