Living with Anticoagulation - Exercise

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Regular exercise has a positive effect on your heart, body and mind. It is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and can also benefit your levels of cholesterol and blood lipids. Before you start an exercise regime or activity you should ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor may recommend an electrocardiogram (ECG) while you exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike to assess how much exertion will be suitable for you.

People with atrial fibrillation

With atrial fibrillation (AF) the heart muscle beats irregularly, therefore the amount of blood that is pumped out of the heart can vary. People with AF often notice an irregular pulse, varying in strength when they feel their wrist with their finger and this means that the body is receiving an uneven supply of oxygen when the muscles are in use under physical exertion.

Mechanical Heart Valve Replacement

If you have had a mechanical heart valve replacement, you should see improvements in your symptoms.   For example you may be surprised how soon you can start to move around again. Under the guidance of your cardiac rehabilitation team an appropriate level of activity can be achieved.

Useful tips about exercise:

  • Build up the amount of exercise you do at first very gradually.
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy!  For example, walking, gardening, cycling, dancing or swimming.
  • Don’t over exert yourself: exercise just until you feel warm and slightly out of breath.
  • Stop exercising if you feel sick, dizzy or very breathless.