If you've been told you have atrial fibrillation, you may have questions about what you can do. Here are answers to some common questions.
There are many different ways to be physically active. If you’re new to exercising, start slowly. For example, you could start with daily 5- or 10-minute walks. Then add a minute or two every week or so until you have worked your way up to 20- or 30-minute walks.
Over time, continue to build up the length and intensity of your workouts.
Find activities that you enjoy and try to include activities that get your heart pumping (aerobic exercises) and one that strengthen your muscles.
Experts say it’s best not to exercise within 90 days of an ablation. Beyond that time, the evidence is not yet clear. But we do know that people who haven’t had an ablation can lower the likelihood of AFib episodes with moderate levels of exercise.
You should keep exercising as you are able because we know it has many benefits for the heart.
It’s likely perfectly fine – and good for you – to keep doing these types of activities. Check with your care team if you are concerned about specific activities. In general, if the level of effort is roughly the same as a brisk walk, it’s probably safe.
Learn more: Use this handout to understand activity levels for common activities.
Talk to your care team about how your work routine might affect your AFib, or if certain activities might trigger an AFib episode.
If you work outdoors, it is important to stay hydrated in hot weather. It’s a good idea to avoid outdoor exertion in extreme cold, heat or humidity, or on days with high levels of air pollution.
You may feel embarrassed or reluctant to ask this question, but intimacy and staying connected with your partner are important. Experts say sex involves about the same level of exertion as other types of moderate exercise, such as climbing two flights of stairs, vacuuming, bowling, pushing a lawn mower or playing a doubles tennis match. So if your care team says these are OK, then having sex should be fine.
Sex is also generally OK even if you have a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). If you feel chest pain, an abnormally racing heart, or think you may have been shocked by your ICD, check in with your care team.