Heart Palpitations Brought on by Exercise


Hearing the words “heart palpitation” usually evokes fear. The sensation, mistakenly, gets attached to more serious conditions such as heart attacks. The misconception is that palpitations are a sign of heart problems, when they are typically benign. The ironic thing about heart palpitations resulting from exercise is that proper exercise can decrease them. Know your limitations when exercising to avoid health risk.

Man clutching chest.
Man clutching chest. (Image: milan2099/iStock/Getty Images)


Heart palpitations occur when the heart beats outside the normal range. Expect minor palpitations from time to time. It is common to experience a racing heart or chest pounding after exercise. Several different causes are possible, but typically, they are not life threatening. Consult a physician if heart palpitations are felt frequently following exercise. Avoid strenuous exercises until you have been evaluated by a physician. Ensure your health by knowing your body. A doctor may run several tests to ascertain the cause behind the palpitations. Expect tests like a chest X-ray, resting electrocardiogram, exercise stress test, etc. Once cleared by a doctor, ignore infrequent palpitations that do not cause severe pain or shortness of breath.

EKG. (Image: Andrius Gruzdaitis/iStock/Getty Images)

Tailor Your Regimen

Find exercises that are suitable for you. Try walking instead of running if running leaves you completely fatigued and exhausted. Develop proper breathing exercises because it makes your workout more effective. Adopt exercises such as cycling, swimming and push-ups in place of weightlifting. This is not to say that you can never lift weights, but gradually work your way into more rigorous exercises. Often, palpitations are the result of an activity that the body is not accustomed to doing. Do not be sedentary throughout the week and engage in a rigorous workout regimen on the weekends. Consistent exercise keeps the heart beating at a normal rate.

Swimming is a good exercise.
Swimming is a good exercise. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Heart Readjustment

Dr. Michael Kienzle of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics states, “After exercise, the body’s natural adrenalin level remains high for a period of time while the heart rate begins to go down during the rest. This period of time often permits the extra beats to come back, and sometimes their rate and frequency are higher than before exercise.” Understand that palpitations after exercise are merely the heart's means of trying to reach normalcy. Keep this in mind to avoid believing there is a bigger problem. Constant worrying can lead to stress. A healthy heart beats between 55 to 100 times per minute, so of course the heart beats faster during exercise because it is working harder.

Exercise causes a faster heartbeat.
Exercise causes a faster heartbeat. (Image: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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