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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can I exercise with heart palpitations?

    I'm struggling with my weight. I'm 115 kg since i had my first baby. I have an anxiety disorder.

    I joined the gym but im really worried to go as I get very anxious of having a heart attack as I have heart palpitations. I've had my heart checked but is it OK to do exercise if i have palpitations?

    Should continue if i experience them during exercise?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 13


    Matt Tinski

    Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer

    Matt offers professional advice for introducing and / or fine tuning exercise for weight loss and has assisted many clients with various chronic illnesses to … View Profile

    If you’ve had your heart checked I will assume it was via an ECG Stress Test, Echo and Holter Monitor. If that’s the case then your Cardiologist would have told you if it was an issue that warranted further attention.

    Alarming as it may be for you, palpitations aren't usually problematic because your heart is still pumping normally.
    There are things you can try that should help:

    • Reduce the intensity of your workout until your fitness level improves. (Strenuous exercise can deplete glucose levels in your blood and can lead to low blood sugar)
    • Hydrate (The imbalance in electrolytes can disrupt the heart's electrical impulses, causing it to race, pound or take a premature beat)
    If you also have shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or chest pain, seek emergency attention.

  • 6


    Zac Jefcoate

    Exercise Physiologist

    Zac Jefcoate is the owner of Exzac Health Solutions. He was one of three accredited exercise physiologist practicing in G.P super clinics in Western Australia. … View Profile

    The first thing you need to do is determine, from your general practitioner what tests you’ve had on your heart. Would it have been ECG or an exercise ECG? Generally, if your heart has been checked by a doctor or general practitioner and they've cleared you to exercise you need to seek the advice of an exercise physiologist before starting any exercise program. The exercise physiologist will determine the best exercise for you and your condition and also, show you the right exercises that won't make your anxiety or condition worse. They prescribe specific exercises, based on guidelines and also the latest information and advice about exercising, especially with your heart.
    The important thing is to start out at a very low intensity. You should be able to talk during exercise and generally, the advice I would give would be no more than five or ten minutes each machine. Monitor your heart if that's what you're concerned about through a heart rate monitor. However in the experience with heart palpitations, they generally would come about with an increase in exercise, or a sudden stop in exercise. So be mindful. I would definitely seek the advice, of your general practitioner if you have any symptoms during exercise. Number two, have an assessment by an exercise physiologist to determine your safe heart rate ranges. And number three increase your confidence with exercise. In addressing your last question “Should I continue if I experience these during exercise?'' I would advise to slow down and stop immediately when you can't talk and seek advice from your GP to find out if there's anything more going on.

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