Aquafit and Sinus Rhythm

For seven months, for various reasons, I did not go to the gym, specifically my aquafit class. Yesterday morning, after 40 continuous days in atrial fibrillation, I attended a one hour aquafit class plus stayed overtime for another half hour to do some somersaults using dumbbells, as well as a lot of twisting and turning with the hoop. At noon when I checked blood pressure and pulse rate, I was back in sinus rhythm -- to my relief since I am still waiting to see a cardiologist.

Now there has been one small study regarding yoga whereby it was concluded that yoga will reduce the frequency of paroxysmal afib. My online research came up with nothing for aquafit and afib. I am wondering whether anyone else has had a similar experience? In the meantime I plan to continue with the aquafit.

19 Replies

  • Hi Cuore,

    I have similar experience. I have paroxismal afib with shorter runs (4-20 hours) 4-10 occasions per month. These are documented in my afib diary, so I have statictics. My afib in about 80% of the cases is terminated by exercise. Exercise could be short and intensive or long as ~40 min road biking. Being MD I scanned the literature and I find two case studies with similar observation. This procedure is called selftermination. Interestingly on various patient forums, far more afiber have similar experience.

    Interestingly in remaining 20% the opposite helps - sitting quietly, relaxation or even sleep). I think this mild overtraining state if the reacts on relaxation I omit for 1-2 weeks the exercise.


  • Thank you so much for your insight; I now have a new tool to deal with A-Fib. --self termination. I immediately went online and found an article "exercise and self-cardioversion" in the New England Journal of Medicine Dec. 19, 2002. As for myself, the exercise in aquafit kept me in sinus rhythm up to the following day (yesterday) whereby I did not attend an aquafit class. This morning I was in A-Fib again, but with the aquafit class I was back in sinus rhythm. Now I am compelled to keep exercising to keep me in sinus rhythm -- hope it works somewhat.

  • I'm haepy to read that the aquafit worked :)

    The same happened yesterday with me. I have paroxismal. It returns in every 4th 7th day. Yesterday I had it. 40 minutes indoor byking terminated.

    Best regards:


  • Thank you for sharing your experience. Since I went from the 40 day persistent to sinus rhythm, I guess I can reclassify myself to paroxysmal. But, I am sure that the AF will return so that when I see the cardiologist for the first time, I will inquire about getting an ablation so that I may stay longer in sinus rhythm. You appear to be comfortable using the exercise technique. Hope it continues to work well for you.

  • Good luck Cuore (In bocca lupo :) ).

    I hope that good decision will be made depending on your state.

  • Some people find exercise will put them into SNR, others find exercise will trigger AF - that's the conundrum as we all seem to react differently.

    I, being a contrarian anyways and all-ways, found exercise could put be back into NSR (assuming I could which often I couldn't) and at other times would trigger AF. I loved Aquafit because I could get a cardiac response without tiring my muscles too much.

    Glad it worked for you!

  • Yes, this morning I was back in AF when I woke up. Shortly afterwards, I attended my aquafit class and now I am back in sinus rhythm. Hopefully, I can last at least another day without going into AF again. You sound as if you have had sufficient success with this self-termination technique.

  • Very limited if in established AF - but yes if in early stages and definately for the ectopic pre cursor stage.

    Only thing that worked for me in the long term was ablation, AF is often progressive and in latter years I was too symptomatic to exercise.

    If I were you I would try propping yourself up on pillows as could be the supine position that sparks your AF - or lying on your left side - or your right.

    Research vagal AF - good videos on this forum & YouTube by Dr Sanjay Gupta who is cardiologist at York Cardiology and has vagal AF himself so blogs about it., researchs and reports on research he finds and offers general advice.

  • Thank you for trying to help me by offering sleep advice. I do not sleep in the supine position, always on my side and lately it's been on my right. I will certainly research vagal AF but I have been leaning towards hypertension, stress, and perhaps genetic factors as my causes. From what I have been reading, ablation seems to be the route to go, especially since, like you, I am looking at the long term. You have given me reassurance.

  • Working on reducing stress and reducing your hypertension are the 2 most useful things you can do to help yourself.

    Look at regular mindfulness techniques, yoga or anything that works with breathing and reducing your breaths per minute along with how to calm your stress. That basically is what your exercise is doing for you but try doing Yoga Nidra just before sleep for deep relaxation and as an aid to sleep.

    The vagus nerve is part of the ANS - Autonomic Nervous System which stress and hypertension will trigger, by staying calm, breathing and learning to moderate our thoughts and worries we can

  • Do you have sleep apnea or low heart rate? Those are the two things they have found that contributed to my afib. By the way, my afib would not ever convert on its own. Until last summer when they tried tikosyn, all that ever worked was cardio version. Tikosyn converted after the first pill, but second pill caused cardia arrest. I now have a pacemaker and cpap machine, doing much much better.

  • I do not have a low heart rate; I take Verapamil to lower the heart rate. I have wondered whether I have sleep apnea. I did find a site with a questionnaire, which I took, that seemed to indicate that I did not have sleep apnea. As I had been in persistent afib for 40 days, I was shocked when I cardio-verted, but it was only for a day and 3/4 span, and the second time, only a half a day. It didn't work today. I am going to try again tomorrow.

    Thank goodness you are doing "much, much better."

  • I believe that tensing the muscles around the heart and holding it like that for a while helps stop AF. It certainly does for me anyway. So while doing your exercise, if you are tensing your body then that could be the reason your AF stops.


  • I don't know if I am tensing the muscles or not. But, on my own, my favourite move is to use the foam dumbbells, lie with my body horizontal on the water,then flip and lie completely on my back. I also do a lot of twisting and turning so that my whole body gets a great workout. After the aquafit, I do feel great. I also spend a few minutes each -- in the hot tub, in the sauna room, and in the steam room.

  • Look up various vagal manoeuvres - one of which is plunging face into very cold water - called the diver response. Another is lying supine on the floor and getting others to get hold of your legs and lift them very quickly; or try squatting and bearing down hard and fast or try blowing hard into empty syringe -& there are many. Quite useful to know and some worked for me, sometimes.

  • Right. I am going swimming tomorrow. Or later. I am interested to know what your heart rate range is (would be if it was in NSR) during these work outs that flip you back into rythym. Is it a steady highish level or a up and down?

    Or is different for different people. I see 40 minutes being a necessary minimum time...but thats just my intuition.

  • I have just read this article about exercise and thought that it might be of interest to you although it deals with cycling as opposed to swimming :

  • I tried to take my pulse rate while I was in the pool, but with all the water splashing around me, I got frustrated as I was not successful. This self-termination has worked for me only twice since I attempted it four days ago, since today, it did not work and I am currently in afib. I do have the pulse readings a few hours after the classes which were both 55 bpm which is low but I am on Verapamil which may account for it. Today, my pulse rate after the class was 85 bpm, and, as I said, in a-fib. This evening my pulse is 78 bpm. The first self-termination lasted a day and three-quarters, and the second merely a half a day.

    My classes are an hour long, so I do agree with you on the 40 minute minimum. In my classes, I do push my self to get my heart rate up, and because I am in the water, I feel my heart totally fine with it. I hope you have great success with self termination or self cardio-version. As for myself, the aquafit calms my heart with the afib.

  • Thanks. I had an ablation on 20 Jan 2017, so still early days. Right now I am in a-fib, but I will first allow the normal post ablation recovery period to run its course before trying this - which I hope I won't need to do.

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