“Exercise. But not too hard.”

When I had my first day-long incidence – and I emerged from the bright lights, trailing cables, sharp things, and the capes-on-back-to-front world of the hospital the world seemed like it had been turned on its head. The following days adjusting to the new medicines – it felt like my neck was squeezing my head off, and I got short of breath doing stupid little things. The last thing I wanted to do was exercise. What exercise I was doing got hit on the head pretty sharpish.

Over the last year, and waiting on my ablation – my attitude towards exercise has changed greatly. Rides tend to be around 40 miles – but pace and effort are up – and I have started swimming and stationary bike work again.

Some days are good and unaffected, some days you can feel it hanging over you like a cloud, waiting in the darkness, some days are simply non-starters.

Some days you just throw care to the wind – life is short! You are riding up a local incline that happens to be in the UK 100 climbs, and there it is. The stuttering thumps of a loss of rhythm – the worry and the choice to either limp 20 miles home, or push on and up. What do you do? There is no “just stop” as you are miles from home. What is the call?

Asking the cardiologist you get a kinda non-quantitative answer. The same goes for the other cardiac staff. It all heads down to “you need to exercise…. but not too hard”.

So I thought I would throw it open to the crowd…. and the answers came back as various flavours of the following:

“go see a cardiologist and explain your systems and sport. and get a Heart Ablation procedure. its stupid to not listen to your body. your continue to be manly after procedure.”

 

“1. I hope you are anticoagulated. 2. See your cardiologist. 3. The longer you are in Afib, the harder it is to be cardioverted out so pushing yourself when in Afib is not beneficial.”

 

“I had a cardioversion done 6 weeks post-OHS which stopped my AFib/AFlutter completely. I have also heard that the sooner you address this problem, the more likely cardioversion or ablation will work.”

 

“Recently diagnosed with AFIB. I’m a distance runner. Denial is my go-to strategy 😁. I just keep plugging along, often very slowly, especially in this heat.”

 

“When I had it I’d go months without any episode then get one every ride. To begin with I could carry on riding but with a reduced capacity which was a real problem on hilly rides where my HR would got up to 249bpm on the climbs! Sometimes it sorted itself out, other times I had it for the rest of the ride (sometimes over 50 miles) and several hours after. This would exhaust me for the rest of the week making me more likely to get AF on my next ride. If you have it permanently I personally wouldn’t do anything other than gentle exercise.”

All of them right, and none of them are right.

As with so many questions – not having an answer means that I am asking the wrong question.

Right here and now it is a matter of setting goals, picking your fights, and it being okay to say “not today”.

I am probably doing more now, today, with this, than I have been in the last few years without it. Structure. Pick your battles. Look ahead.

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