In the past, I’ve talkd about how some doctors suspect that very intense workouts can put you at risk for Afib. That’s why we see Afib episodes in some long distance runners and race horses.
Exercise is very good for you, that there’s even more evidence to suggest that taking it slow and steady is the way to go.
A study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010 showed extended and vigorous exercise, such as running a marathon, might raise cardiovascular risk seven times.
“Endurance athletes who regularly do strenuous exercise for long periods of time are at a higher risk of abnormal electrical heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation (AF),” said Dr Daniel Yeo, consultant cardiologist and medical director of Apex Heart Clinic at Gleneagles Hospital. AF refers to an irregular heartbeat that can cause stroke and heart failure.
Note that you don’t want to use these findings to swear off exercise altogether! You just don’t want to overdo it.
In fact, if you’re an Afib patient or someone who is knowingly at risk for Afib (for example, if Afib runs in your family) then I’d recommend that you actually consult with your doctor to determine the appropriate level of exercise for you if you’re starting any new program. Everyone says you should do that, and few people ever actually get around to doing it.
It seems kind of silly and basic, I know. “Hey doc, can I please exercise?”
You just can’t argue with the research, though. The consultation is warranted. Your doctor will want you to exercise, but perhaps not as vigorously or as intently as you’d planned.
Besides, the medical consultation will generally mean that your exercise program is more effective overall at helping you meet your goals. And that’s certainly a good thing, even if you have to deal with the added hassle of making a doctor’s appointment.