3.“When I have A-Fib symptoms, should I go ahead and exercise or skip it and rest? Can I damage my heart if I exercise in A-Fib?”
This is a hard question to answer, because it depends so much on the type of A-Fib you have and how A-Fib affects you individually. It’s really a judgment call for you and your doctor.
Light exercise: In some people light exercise helps get them out of an A-Fib attack (Vagal A-Fib). In others, exercise makes it worse. When you first start exercising, your heart rate tends to be very rapid and disturbing. If you have A-Fib symptoms, try light exercise for a short time to see if it will get you out of an A-Fib attack. If not, you should probably skip it and rest. Try to exercise when you’re in Normal Sinus Rhythm.
Possible dangers of exercising in A-Fib: When exercising in A-Fib, you may be pushing your heart into higher pulse levels, putting added strain on your atria, getting your heart used to beating in A-Fib and staying in A-Fib longer, etc. But unfortunately we don’t know this for sure.
Some regularly exercise in A-Fib: I have a friend who is in persistent no-symptom A-Fib. He is an active swimmer. His swimming probably improves his A-Fib compromised circulation. He feels better when he can exercise. If you don’t feel bad when exercising in A-Fib, the exercise probably does improve your circulation, in addition to the regular benefits of exercise.
Exercise if you can: In general, with A-Fib, do whatever you can to still exercise. If you can exercise without your heart rate becoming too rapid and you feel like exercising, you probably should. But check with your doctor. If exercising feels bad or brings on an A-Fib attack, skip the exercise. No one’s going to hold it against you if you miss a day of exercise.