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Atrial Fibrillation Health Center

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Heart Arrhythmias and Exercise - Topic Overview

Tips for success

  • Set realistic goals. If you expect too much, you are likely to become discouraged and stop exercising.
  • Give yourself time. It can take months to get into the habit of exercising. After a few months, you may find that you are looking forward to it.
  • Stay with it. It can be hard to follow an exercise plan. Try exercising with a friend-it is much easier to continue an exercise program if you are exercising with someone else.
  • Reward yourself. Build in rewards along the way that help you continue your program.
  • Start out slowly. Try parking farther away from the store or walk the mall before shopping. Over time, you will increase your ability to do more.
  • Keep a record of your daily exercise. It is okay to skip a day now and then or to cut back on your exercise if you are too tired or aren't feeling well.

For more information, see:

Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.

Precautions when starting an exercise program

When starting an exercise program, keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Pace yourself by alternating exercises. Rotate light workouts, such as short walks, with more strenuous exercises, such as low-impact aerobics or swimming.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors in extreme temperatures or high humidity. When the weather is bad, try exercising indoors at a gym or walking at a mall.
  • Avoid exercises that require or encourage holding your breath, such as push-ups, sit-ups, and heavy lifting.
  • Do not take hot or cold showers or sauna baths after exercising. Moderate temperatures are best, because very hot or very cold temperatures can be dangerous.
  • Ask your doctor about continuing your exercise program if your medicines change. New medicines can affect how you feel when you exercise.
  • Do not take naps after exercise, because that reduces exercise tolerance.
  • Take your pulse frequently or wear a heart rate monitor, and keep your pulse within the parameters your doctor sets. Watch your pulse when walking up hills or stairs.
  • Make sure you adjust your exercise program if it is interrupted for more than just a couple of days. Gradually increase to your regular activity level as tolerated.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 2/, 014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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