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Diagnosed with WPW syndrome. Should I exercise?

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Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 922 Questions
I have been diagnosed with WPW Syndrome. My Cardiologist first said not to workout then when I pushed it a bit he said yes continue to workout but don't exercise like you are training for a triathalon. I exercise on the treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes at a speed of 3.6 and an incline of 10. I do that for about 6 minutes and reduce speed and incline to 2.5 for 2 minutes and then increase again. I also do the weight circuit. Working legs and arms. I get nervous sometimes and wonder if I should be working out at all. I am having the XXXXXXX Ablation in January 2013. A lot of time I feel like I am pushing on myself when I work out and I usually don't feel like I should after a work out. I don't feel energized. I usually feel like I am all in. Should I be exercising as I am or should I not? What is your opinion? Thank you. Diana
Posted Sun, 29 Jul 2012 in Heart Rate and Rhythm Disorders
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
I am qualified cardiologist and read your question with diligence.
If to answer this question in one sentence:
Q:Can a patient with WPW syndrome exercise?
A: Although exercise is good for heart, however, at times in WPW it can precipitate
arrhythmia. This was the cause of your doctor's hesitation.
To elaborate further, I will say:
While exercise does not seem to be a specific trigger, the random appearance of atrial fibrillation (AF) is always XXXXXXX when seen in the setting of WPW, and especially so during exertion, because that accessory bypass tract allows the atrial rhythm, whatever it may be, to conduct directly to the ventricles without passing through the “braking system” provided by the AV node. AF may occur at rates of 150-300 beats per minute and be extremely chaotic. If such a rhythm is conducted directly to the ventricles, it is, in effect, arriving as ventricular fibrillation (VF) and that rhythm may, in fact, result in very short order. Even without a rapid exercising pulse and oxygen debt, then, such an occurrence may overwhelm the larger, slower ventricles and throw them into a lethal rhythm.
Therefore, let us choose a compromise. Aerobic exercise, albeit limited yes. That includes brisk walking for you a speed of 4 KM / Hour for one hour a day (if your speed in treadmill is in KMs (not in miles per hour) that is just fine.

But exercise against resistance like lifting weights (also called isometric exercise) hold on till your ablation. How does that sound? Only few months to go.

If you have any follow up query, I would happily answer that as soon as possible.
Take Care.

I will instead, ask to do one Yogic exercise. That will tale all the anxiety away. It is called 'swasana', do for 15 minutes a day apart from brisk walking on treadmill or othNo yoga session is complete without the final pose – Savasana. The body needs this time to understand the new information it has received through practicing yoga. Even though Savasana is a resting pose, it’s not the same a sleeping! You should stay present and aware during the five to ten minute duration of final relaxation.


1. Come to lie down on the back.

2. Let the feet fall out to either side.

3. Bring the arms alongside the body, but slightly separated from the body, and turn the palms to face upwards.

4. Relax the whole body, including the face. Let the body feel heavy.

5. Let the breath occur naturally.

6. To come out, first begin to the deepen the breath. Then move the fingers and toes, awakening the body.

7. Bring the knees into the chest and roll over to one side, keep the eyes closed.

8. Slowly bring yourself back up into a sitting position.

Here are some ideas on ways to use props during savasana to make this pose more comfortable and relaxing.

If there is any further query I will be most happy to answer asap.
It wont build your muscles but certainly strengthen your mind.

With Best Wishes

Dr Anil Grover, Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with WPW syndrome. Should I exercise? 28 minutes later
Hello Dr. Grover:

Thank you for your efficient response. You say brisk walking at 4km for one hour a day is fine. When doing this on the treadmill did you mean with an incline or basic walking without any incline?

Thank you.

Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later
Good to get a reply from you thank you for your kind words.

Yes level walking means less than 5% inclination on treadmill. Please step up from 2.5 KM per hour speed for 10 minutes to 3.5 in next 10 then 4 for next 40 and again cool down to basic level that is 2.5. Idea is not to give any chance of stress thus adrenaline release and problems.
It was pleasure interacting with you XXXXXXX All the best.
If you have further query, I will be happy to answer otherwise you can close the query with comments.

Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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