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AF Association
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What activities do you do?

Hi all,

I'm curious, does anyone continue to run, walk, exercise, drive, or do any activities while in afib? I'd like to know how people are challenging afib when they are able to. Do you still travel if you're having an episode? Do you say "f it" and do the things you want to do? I feel like I need some inspiration. :)

Tomas

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When I was in persistent AF I would drive, run, do the gym, take 60 10 year old children on a school residential to central London! Now I am in paroxysmal AF I struggle more to do things when in AF. I think you get use to been in AF.

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Hi Tomas - When I had episodes of AF I was so symptomatic that I could barely make it from bed to bathroom. I was so breathless and felt so ill that even sitting down wasn't enough - I had to lie down. Heart rate varied between 90 and 200 bpm and I dread its return. ☹️

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I'm very lucky that never feel ill when I'm in a fib. I have no side effects from my meds. A fib does not prevent me from doing anything.

Having said that, if I had an episode at home and I didn't need to go out then I would stay in until the episode was over. When it happens and I'm out

and about then I would get home sooner rather than later. I did have a stroke as I hadn't been anticoagulated by any doctors, and so I'm never complacent.

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Hi Tomas - When I get my PAF it quite disables me and like Finvola it affects me to walk from one room to another, but when I have my good periods I can do whatever I like. I belong to a walking group and volunteer for the National Trust two afternoons a week. However I would be afraid to book a holiday, just in case I didn't have the energy. We all experience different effects from our AF and I'm sure it doesn't mean that one person who goes ahead and can do everything while in AF is stronger than anyone else. They just don't get AF as bad as some others. My AF can last for weeks when I get it, if I only had it for a few hours or so then yes I'd book a holiday. Unfortunately despite 3 ablations I'm never lucky enough for my attacks to just last just for a small number of hours, though they did when I first started with AF in 2005.

Jean

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Hi for five years I couldn't do anything first two treated for stress eventually AF diagnosis. Mine a slightly different story suffice to say after the five years correct meds different procedures ops and pacemaker I am at 62 back at gym 5-6 times a week . We are all different I wish you luck on your AF journey keep positive and who knows you may be right soon

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Hi Tomas, I guess because we are all different and AF is so complex, I think it difficult to say anything other than how AF impacts on you. In my case, prior to diagnosis I only suffered from fairly mild breathlessness. After diagnosis, my world went bonkers. A combination of lack of knowledge, a load of drugs that made me feel like a zombie, and talk of anticoagulants vs stroke....the list went on. However, with a bit of help from my friends here and my local support group, things gradually settled and I began to realise that I could continue to do the things I did before diagnosis. I was in persistent AF which is, for some, less debilitating. I guess what I'm saying in my usual roundabout way is that folks should continue to do the things they feel comfortable doing and try not to let AF restrict their activities, but as I say, we are all different and if episodes are severe, this might be easier said than done.......

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I agree with much of the above. Do anything you feel able to do and your body will tell you if you can't! Back in the early days of AF I asked my cardiologist if I should keep an eye on my heart rate and he said you will soon know if you are doing too much! I wasn't able to run but it didn't stop me walking, holiday inn, cycling or working!

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I'm too symptomatic to get a few steps. Chronic fatigue and a feeling of general unwellness.

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I have been in A-fib 5 times, the first time I was in it for a month before they cardioverted me. During that time I kept on jogging and mountain biking, but never tried anything to long or too strenuous. Steep hills on the mountain bike (and jogging) would be walked but I enjoyed being out there.

My cardiologist encouraged me to exercise when I was in a-fib, he was concerned about me cutting myself if I fell because of the blood thinners, but he was not worried about the effects of a-fib on exercise

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I'm relatively lucky in that, if I get any, the only symptoms I have when I'm having an episode are very mild ones. What exercise I get comes mainly from walking my dog and, as I've found that climbing hills and walking fairly long distances often gets me back in NSR, I tend to get more of it when I'm in AFib as I purposely choose the longer routes with the steeper hills.

After a year or two of shorter episodes, I had my first one in three months just over a week ago and it turned out to be the second longest one I've had in the near decade I've had AFib. It lasted fifty seven hours and, after countless walks and climbs without success, I was coming to the end of the longest one I'd tried yet when I let me dog off her lead for the quarter of a mile before getting home - normally, she goes trotting off as soon as I do this, but this time, she stayed where she was and caused me to almost trip over her.

I had that awful heart in mouth feeling you get when you come close to falling and, after calling the dog a few things that my mother would have been ashamed to hear me say, I set off walking again, only to think after a few steps "it's gone, I'm back to normal!".

Now, it may well have been that my heart had slipped back into sinus rhythm just beforehand and I hadn't noticed, but my old Ruby has now been added to the fairly short list of things proven to get me out of AFib - she had a special treat for dinner that day!

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Tomas, I cycle as I found I couldn't run. I also sit on a turbo in the garage so as not to worry about where I was if I go into AFib. When in AFib this was really difficult to exercise as hr would raise to 200. In my view not good. If I was on drugs I could control hr more and EP agreed to beta blocker to keep HR down while exercising. This helps. But this wasn't when in AFib . I couldn't do anything with an episode. As others have said it's individual and my episodes are triggered by exercise. This I have found hard. Not sure I've helped much but I keep trying to exercise. All the advice is to do that. The other thing to remember is the training effect. I was very fit before AFib and this has so far been a 18 month journey. In that time I lost all my fitness and have found it hard starting again in effect and at a much more moderate level. Good luck

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I walk when in AF,if I don't get it in the evening which I most often do. Walking seems to bring me back into NSR. also if I feel like AF is about to happen I will go for a walk, to try and stop it from happening.

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Before my successful ablation I used to carry on exercising as close to normal as possible. I played hockey and had afib about 1 day in 3, so I'd be playing hockey with AF every 3rd game. I felt a little more uncomfortable and I didn't go so far out of my defensive area but I carried on OK. You have to if you're a member of a team. Similarly I cycled 500 miles to Paris and back where the main problem was my bum rather than AF!

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When I'm in AF unable to do exercise as I normally have to phone ambulance as I have to have cardio version. Apart from that I exercise every day , some days better than others,gym 3 times a week. I also am aware of my limits.

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Very differing answers as you can see - all depends upon how symptomatic you are. People with PAF seem to be more symptomatic than people with persistent or permanent.

Before ablation I couldn't do anything but 2 episodes since ablation I can do 'normal' things but wouldn't exercise as I have fast AF and I wouldn't want to increase HR even more.

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Do not give in to the pesky AF. I still cycle in AF. Cardiologists have told me that it is good to exercise an AF heart. The last 4 times I was in AF I got on my bike and it got me back into NSR. However I now modify my cycling and keep my heart rate below 130bpm using a heart rate monitor.

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If you would have a flat tire on your car, you WOULD NOT drive it. If your heart gets “flat”, you still expect it to perform like nothing is happening…

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Thank you everyone for your feedback. So much of this is helpful. Seems like the main thing is: everyone experiences AFIB differently. To the people that are debilitated by AFIB, I'm sorry. That seems horrible.

I may have to limited my posts or the amount of times I come on here. I think I'm seeking reassurance that cannot be found, no matter how many stories I read. I need to find a way to just LIVE my life and have MY experience with AFIB. So far I've only had my one first episode, and I have no idea if it'll come back. But why am I waiting around for it? I could be enjoying life. Anyway, thank you all for teaching me this valuable lesson.

Tomas

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Spot on Tomas! Reassurance comes from within ourselves as we realise that there is a life with AF, it's just different. I now find I'm much more aware of the positivity of each day but it is only human to wonder if/when AF will strike again. The trick is not to let that thought take over and spoil the good days.

Best wishes on your journey.

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I have run in 10k events for many years, and have continued since developing af. Mind you there are almost no symptoms with my af, the only effect (and when I realised I had it) was to reduce my performance by about 15 percent. The cardiologist urged me to continue, and stressed there was little chance of cardiac arrest or other damage to my heart. My advice is to take whatever exercise you were doing before, assuming your af symptoms are not too severe. I am nearly 78.

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I'm 65 and have permanent AF with no symptoms apart from elevated HR I've been bodybuilding for 45 years and it doesn't affect my training in the slightest, in fact when i'm training with weights my HR is lower than when I'm out walking. I take Diltiazem and Digoxin

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