Atrial fibrillation Exercise Healthy Living

Not moving is not good therapy…

Not sure if using a question from the comment section is ‘pc’ in the blog-o-sphere but the issue raised is highly worthy of commentary. 

“Until last May I considered myself to be pretty serious cyclist as well, until exercise induced atrial fibrillation became a problem. Now I’m actually afraid to get on the bike, lest I set off an episode. I’m on Rhythmol SR, which I tolerate okay, but doesn’t stop the problem. Three electrophysiologists have all advised against ablation. Wonder what your thoughts are on this?”

Medical advice over the internet without a formal face to face evaluation is unquestionably suspect.

However, the question raised about exercising and arrhythmia treatment raises a very important issue on health and well being.  Except for the rarest of circumstance I strongly believe withholding exercising should never be a long term therapy for any problem.

Consistent movement of the body enough to raise the pulse and increase the respiratory rate is one of the three fundamental components of health.  Maintenance of health requires the “big three:” good nutrition, good sleep and good movement. 

My advice to patients who cannot exercise because of a specific problem is to fix the problem so that exercise is possible.   The examples are numerous; like the diabetic patient who cannot exercise because of knee pain from arthritis. The master of the obvious says get the knee fixed so as to allow exercise.

On the problem of atrial fibrillation, the tenets of treatment are the same.  If a therapy is not effective in allowing regular “common sense” exercise it should change.  As an atrial fib club member myself, it is certain that if therapy “x” did not allow riding the bike, than it would soon change to therapy “y,” even if this meant procedures. 

Move and be well. 


One reply on “Not moving is not good therapy…”

Thanks. Frustrating, though. As long as I don't ride, I feel my risk of an episode is minimal. I guess I fear the a-fib more than I want to ride (as you know, it is a nasty experience). I do walk (used to run, but get lower back pain ever since spinal stenosis surgery two years ago). I'm on a 21-day monitor right now. I agree with your "fix the problem" attitude, but have to confront that cycling is secondary to my job performance (two kids in college right now). How do you respond when other electrophyisologists say that ablation is only 30% successful and/or isn't worth the risk?

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