Should palpitations stop me exercising?
I’m getting palpitations and it’s putting me off exercise. What should I do?
Senior Cardiac Nurse Emily McGrath says:
Palpitations are when you 'feel' your heartbeat, or feel like your heart is fluttering or skipping a beat. They can be alarming, but are usually harmless. They can be caused by all kinds of things including medication, hormone changes, caffeine, lack of sleep, dehydration or stress.
As long as you increase your activity level gradually, you should be able to get used to more intense exercise
If the palpitations pass quickly and occur only occasionally, you probably don’t need to see your GP. But if the palpitations are bothering you, get worse or you have a history of heart problems, it’s a good idea to contact your GP. Likewise, if they’re putting you off exercise, then get them checked out.
If you’ve seen your doctor and you don’t need further investigation or treatment, then it’s a good idea to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. If exercise is fairly new to you, start with five or 10 minutes of walking and gradually increase your time and distance. As long as you increase your activity level gradually, you should be able to get used to more intense exercise.
Be cautious and speak to your doctor about any new symptoms so that you can be monitored if needed.
Meet the expert
Senior Cardiac Nurse Emily Reeve has worked in general and cardiology nursing with a background in cardiac rehab.