Lolo
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Lolo, July 13,  2017  10:13am EST

Weightlifting and AFIB

Are there any weightlifters here on the board? Are you still lifting post-AFIB diagnosis?


My docs have given me the greenlight to lift, but I wonder about the longterm risks and benefits...
  • Grizz59
    Grizz59, July 14,  2017  12:51am EST
    58 yo male was diagnosed with asymptomatic AFIB last December my HR is very controlled low 70s during the day mid to high 60s resting taking metoprolol 25mg and eliquis 5mg. I was heavy lifting for years with cardio 3-4x per week. After the afib I noticed lifting puts HR up around 170+ Cardiologist and EP recommended dropping the lifting and continue cardio. I followed their advice for the most part doing a few light sets once in a while (120 lbs) using a HR monitor at the gym. The cardio exercise really seems to help control my hr, no problem with walking stairs or things like that. I had a electro cardioversion done in January but it lasted a week, Doc said I may need an ablation in the future but for now 3 month visits and keeping a watch on it. Good luck.
  • CAI69
    CAI69, July 14,  2017  1:36am EST
    Hi Lolo,I've been lifting weights since my diagnosis 3 years ago, and it's been a mix of heavy/low rep, light/high rep, circuits, super sets, etc.  There have been times when I've had to quit early due to an episode, but those are usually due to me coming to the gym in an afib episode, not the lifting causing it.  For cardio, I usually do some time of high intensity interval workout.  Ironically, I've had situations where this type of cardio workout has put me into an episode and also taken me out of an episode.I was put through both chemical and physical stress tests following my diagnosis because I had asked about continuing my workout regime at the same intensity I always had.  My EP was fine with me doing it and just told me to listen to my body.Hope this helps!Corey
  • precor
    precor, July 14,  2017  4:12am EST
    it is ok but do not lift heavy, use moderate to light effort!
  • tennisguy7
    tennisguy7, July 14,  2017  4:48am EST
    Lolo:  I am not a big weightligtyer per se but i work out about 2 hours and play tennis a few times a week. I never stopped during my afib and only stopped for about a week after my ablation in April.  the doc I use said not to go crazy but do what you can do. During all this time i only had to stop one time playing tennis when i got a little dizzy.   After the ablation I have had zero problems and resumed full actilvity as if nothing happened.  That said, everyone reacts differently.  Good luck.david
  • LarryG
    LarryG, July 14,  2017  10:04am EST
    Have worked out (weights... 2X and cardio... 3X per week) since my original AF diagnosis 15 years ago.As others have stated, the trick is to not overdo or push things too hard.Several times, I've gone too heavy or not waited enough time between sets and ended up dizzy or struggling to catch my breath due to a fast HR.  Now I know how hard or fast I can go, and I don't let it happen anymore.  Also, I limit my workout to no more than 45 minutes tops (weights only).  Cardio is easier, so I go between 60 to 90 minutes.  I separate the workouts... if on same day (usually not), one will be in the AM, and the other in the PM.Tip:  Bring your HR monitor to the gym and figure out how long to wait between sets.  After a few sessions, you'll learn to trust how you feel, and then back off when you're approaching "too much."  Better to go a little slower than too fast.Good luck!/Larry68 yo Male in FL
  • Lolo
    Lolo, July 16,  2017  3:36pm EST
    Thanks for your responses, fellow lifters.Off I go the gym. My retirement has me in the best shape I have been in at least 30 years!
  • Invent1
    Invent1, July 17,  2017  3:58am EST
    I use a Polar to monitor during lifting. Same pattern every time:No PAC during exertion, numerous after exertion (between lifting) and these tend to decrease after 25 minutes or so. Dooes not trigger AF for me.When people state: "no heavy lifting" I wish they would give a link to their sources. It may be their opinion or their Dr's opinion - and not based by any objective study.
  • himike
    himike, July 18,  2017  2:58am EST
    I used to lift weights and was in karate but when I was diagnosed had to stop all of that. The increased blood pressure and loss of electrolytes was a risk in my doctor's opinion.
  • Gpete
    Gpete, September 15,  2018  12:10pm EST

    I have been weight training since I was 17 and now 72 , I have a fib due to leaky heart valves , I train heavy and fast 2 hours a day 3 days a week and hike the other days . My heart rhythm seems to be normal when I train and back to afib when resting which for some people is normal . My cardiologist has done numerous tests , angiograms, echocardiograms ect and my ejection fraction is 60%. My average resting heartbeat is between 55-59 . I take 12 1/2 mg of metoprolol and lisinopril. The only side affect I have is from the meds . I started taking l arginine on and empty stomach and dropped my bp too low so lowered my lisinopril to half and running about 104 to 115 / 55-60. Weigh training helps me tremendously 

  • macaodha
    macaodha, September 16,  2018  4:54am EST

    I too have lifted free weights since I was 15, now 71. I've lifted heavy & light over the years. A word of caution to all. During an exam for my AFib, I was found to have an Ascending Aortic Aneurysm, now 4.3 cms dilated (it was 4.0 two years ago when discovered). My Electrocardiologist & my Cardiologist both attribute it to the HEAVY lifting over the years. They strongly advised me to switch to lighter weights with more repetitions, which I have done. It's really disheartening to do so, but I'm accepting it. I've gone from a 260 lbs Bench Press 6 reps, to a 130 Bench Press 15 reps. I had to consider the alternative: dropping over dead from a burst aorta while in the gym.

    Dick

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