Slow road to fitness (more or less) - AF Association

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Slow road to fitness (more or less)


I've been in permanent AF now for just over a year. I have very few symptoms, in fact I forget I have AF - except when I want to walk anywhere. I've just turned 70, but I don't want the excuse of age to hold me back from doing anything - and frankly, 'anything' mainly is getting up and going for a walk at a reasonable pace with the rest of the family.

So today I've joined a gym! This isn't earth-shattering, I've been a member of one gym or another most of my life, but I really feel good and positive about it. I got the go-ahead from my GP and cardiologist, who to be honest, I don't think understand why I want to do that rather than go for a 'nice' walk. But I've never been a big fan of 'just walking' and it's always seemed very slow to me - I far preferred to jog! Anyway, walking is where I'm at for now,but getting fit as interestingly as possible is what I need to do.

I had a good chat with the trainer at the local gym and we've started off with some cardiowork - a few minutes of cycling, treadmill, and cross-trainer. My personal favourite, the rowing machine, I think I'll need to leave for quite a time! At the end of the week we'll build in some resistance work because I'm sure I've got muscles somewhere, but at the moment I'm not entirely sure where they are.

I'm taking this very, very carefully, but this afternoon I've felt better in myself than I've felt for a long time.

16 Replies

Good for you Dottikate! I am 66, so not far behind you and was looking for inspiration - you, my lovely lady, have just given it. Thank you 🙏.

My AF has been permanent for around 8 months and, similar to you, I am OK with it until I have to do something like walk. I am quite symptomatic then - breathlessness being the most severe. I am a member of a gym and my intention is to get my heart fitter so that it can cope better.

Again - good lass! I take my hat off to you. X

Dottikate in reply to Froggy

Thanks Froggy - my pleasure! Just like you, breathlessness is my problem, that and having lost all over the year. I hate knowing that everyone is walking slowly because of me - not that there are any complaints and they are all quite aware of why, but puffing after a short time is not the impression I want to leave. I found the guy at the gym was very helpful and understanding, and it helped that he wasn't young and in lycra! Although when I'm fitter....

I'm a dawdler anyway. I take my camera and just let them go ahead.


Enjoy after five years of not being able to go to gym I got back in 2015. Go 5/6 days a week do hour each day on 6 day cycle so different things each day. So good to be back at it. Not bad after cox maze, removal of cardiac benign tumour and a pacemaker . The latter and meds keep me on an evenish keel

Froggy in reply to Hidden


sounds terrific Dottikate, and it's good to hear that you are progressing cautiously and with good medical advice....wish you well, please let us know how you get on with your training regime........

Hi Dottie, I have persistent afib for several years now. Besides hands and feet tingling and cold, I feel very good. I average 3 miles a day in running and hit the gym regularly. If your body can tolerate well, exercising is a best drug for your body. I always feel great after a run. Hope your afib won't stop you doing what you like. Wish you well!

Dottikate in reply to glenpointe

Thanks glenpointe, that really encourages me. I would love to start running again, so maybe at some point in the future it will be a possibility.

It’s great to see such a positive post Dottikate, it’s heartening if you forgive the pun, what a wonderful attitude, something I must aspire to, Thankyou.

If I have to thank af for anything it would be for joining a gym. Like you, got sick and tired of this breathlessness. Love going now! Do a "cardio" sandwich. Cardio, followed by resistance end with cardio. Sounds like a lot ( it's not) an hour 3 times a week. Enjoy, good for you xxx

Great stuff Dottikate. I am 71 in March. I have been un Persistent AF since May 2016. Although I don't suffer much from symptoms I am aware of my heart rate when walking, cycling, swimming etc. My resting HR is high 60's to low 70's then it raises very quickly when i exercise. My EP arranged a 24hr monitor to see what was happening during my typical day. The result was my HR was over 100BPM for 17% of my day. He was fine with that. He happy my HR returned to "normal" very quickly. I would rather not have AF but I have so i get on with it and let my EP guide me. It is a strange thing but i am far better in persistant AF than i ever was with PAF. it was one of the reasons my EP suggested we put an Ablation on the back burner. My medication is Apixiban and 1.25 bisoporol x daily. Roy

hi dott,I am 80 and have exactly the same symptoms as you.

The AF is like a car engine ticking over until stress or over exercise

puts it into a higher gear.

I must say though.since picking up info from this forum the AF seems more stable

and in fact a recent episode of life with high stress levels and some heavy exercise

didn't affect it at all.

So..keep taking the magnesium,Vitamins and Olive oil...

Good to hear Dottikate. I too am persistent in AF and go to the gym twice a week but for 2 to 3 hours and take it steady. I too always feel good afterwards and only feel the AF breathlessness when doing something really strenuous like up slope walking, stairs or if I try to jog.

Did your trainer advise on heart rate control at all? I have not been able to find much advice on this question.

I notice that at the next AF patients day 'exercising and AF' is an early talk on the agenda. I intend to be there.

Well done and good luck for the future.

Dottikate in reply to RickyM

My HR is rather like RoyM's, around 70 when resting but going up quite quickly when I exercise but then recovering fairly quickly as well. To be honest I don't think my trainer felt confident about HR advice with AF - which is fair enough. So I said that 140 was probably as high as I wanted to go. But of course it's up and down anyway. I wonder what others do about HR and exercise on here.

Yes, I have asked before without too much luck. 'Listen to your body' i don't find very helpful. Even measuring your HR when you have AF and exercising is difficult. To be confident of the readings you get with any kit has it's problems.

I'm 62 and regularly get 180+ peaks and average 150+ for periods without feeling very fatigued. The gym machines HR figures I do not take any notice of.


Gym machines very unreliable often say my heart rate 150-180 which for me is impossible

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