Mountain Biking


I’m wondering if anyone else is experiencing these exercise related issues during mountain biking (or any other strenuous activity) with a pacemaker:

My pacemaker is set a 140bpm max. Muscle fatigue is instantaneous when climbing hills, and my recovery after a ride is almost non-existent. My theory is that because I’m not getting adequate blood supply to the muscles I'm not getting a good oxygen supply either resulting in an all-over weakened state of movement. Recovery takes at least a week. Does this make sense to you?

I have been off my mountain bike for many years because of heart issues but am now regaining a decent level of fitness. I'm not pushing myself beyond my capabilities but these restrictions are making it difficult to do more than very short rides. I plan on having my device's pace changed to 155bpm soon. I’m hoping that offers some relief.

Any ideas? Similar experiences?

Thank you!


oh yeah

by Tracey_E - 2019-09-23 10:01:15

Are you getting to 140 and staying there? That's a sure sign you are maxing out, it's like hitting a wall. I would back off until you can be seen and get that changed. They often start us low and raise it as needed. You need! Don't wait until the next appointment, I'd call and ask to get in sooner. Until then, don't push it. It's hard on the body, you are not getting the oxygen you need to support exercise right now.

Ideally you want your upper limit to be 10 bpm or so above where you typically get when you work out. Sometimes a stress test is good for figuring this out. I get to 165-170, my upper limit is 190. I've got a cushion so I don't max out. 

Blood supply to leg muscles

by Mike417 - 2019-09-23 11:07:14

Muscle fatigue is indeed a symptom of inadequate blood supply, as well as lactic acid build up.  But it sounds like you need your  upper rate raised.


BPM increased!

by Catsneedsleep - 2019-09-25 13:50:22

Thank you both for your feedback! It's much appreciated. You've confirmed what I thought was happening! My BPM was increased yesterday to 165 and I cannot wait to try it out. The device tech won't increase it any more until I speak with my doctor.

It's interesting, seems as though many doctors believe we are idle.

Thank you again!


by Tracey_E - 2019-09-25 14:55:50

That's because most paced patients are idle! We are the exception. Sometimes we have to remind them of that. Glad you got it raised, hope it helps! 

Idle but NOT by choice.!!!I

by caskin - 2019-09-27 08:42:25

In dec 2017 at the age of 79 I was diagnosed with severe left venticle block?During the intermediate tests I had to be emergency admitted for ONE stent to my main archery.

After the recovery period I began another long course of tests.Followed In Oct 2918 by a 3 hr operation,followed by yet another on New Years Eve and a  final 3hr op  in January of this year when I was fitted with  a Boston triple wire heart pacemaker.I have been paced checked twice since then,and my next Cardio referral is in 12 months time.

To be truthful the fitting of the stent or the pacemaker didnt phase me in the least,in fact being awake throughout it all I spent most of the time chatting to the the surgeon..The worse part of each segment of the year, was both the long recovery period,plus the very casual care in the recovery ward!

So Ive read with interest the comments posted here from my fellow patients,and like my post many of the posts turn to exercise,Now I have tried and | mean really tried to get out and about,but walking for me is so painful,I get so far and am forced to stop,Dancing with my wife which was a lovely part of our life has stopped,plus my road bike and kayak sit in the garage unused.

members who have posted about different settings for thier pacemaker leave me cold,as I have no idea of what they are talking about?All Im told is that all the readings are spot on and that the pacemaker is doings its job at 100%.

So why is it that the minute i go out for a walk my kness and leg muscles virtually sieze up?

Arthritis has been mentioned,but my cardiologist states it is the lack of quality blood serving my lower limbs?A vascular appointment has been made with my local clinic nurse,?

So my question,advice,helping hand,why is it in the forums opinion that, OK taking my age into account,why now that I have had the PM fitted without any ill effects,why is it that I am I now tied to my armchair and .I have never been so idle in my life!When I mention it to cardio staff they always bring it back to age,yet prior to the the findings in 2017 I was busy restoring a 20yr old car which is now almost complete,spent hours in the garden,walking the dogs etc,yet now my energy levels are zilch,motivation is at an all time low,even though I am so keen to get out and about it doesnt happen.



by AgentX86 - 2019-09-27 11:11:20

It's very good that you're seeing a vascular doctor. Since you have a history of vascular disease, this is essential. That was the second thing my cardiologist did after my CABG surgery (the first being to get me into cardiac rehab). It's certainly possible that you have Peripheral Artery Disease, as well. It's an obvious thing to rule out, anyway.


by Catsneedsleep - 2019-09-27 13:14:00


It is so difficult to deal with surgery after surgery, recovery after recovery. I understand too well that slow and discouraging process.

Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with A-Fib. Not much of a big deal in-of-itself, but unfortunately I could not tolerate any of the medications used to control it. To fix the issue, over the course of the next 5 years, I had 2 ablations and 2 cryoblations, neither of which worked for any length of time. My 5th surgery was a Vats/Maze procedure in conjunction with another cryoblation to keep my symptoms under control once and for all. These last two surgeries (the Vats-Maze and the subsequent cryoblation) damaged my heart. The surgeons severed the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves, I couldn’t lift a bag of groceries; I could no longer walk up a short flight of stairs. I leaned heavily on any handrails to avoid passing out. I was depressed and completely idle. The doctors denied any wrong doing, of course, and told me it was all in my head. I went from being an athlete to an individual who couldn’t function physically. Seeking answers at UCSF confirmed what I had already known and what my previous surgeons had denied. At UCSF, my first pacemaker was implanted in 2016 (still didn’t help because it was found to be defective, OMG!). A replacement was put in September of last year and I’m finally beginning to move in the right direction. For twenty years I have been knocked down and have gotten back up. I am 57years old and after 8 heart proceedures/surgeries and I am tired of the rollercoaster.

For me, having the “settings” on  my devise changed means that I have had my BPM (beats per minute) increased. This is now going to allow me to participate in an increased amount of activity because more blood is flowing through my body resulting in my muscles and organs receiving more oxygen. Until this last Tuesday, my pacemaker was set at 140 BPM and that was not enough for the activity I am engaging in.

At your next appointment discuss your past activity levels this with your doctor? Ask to experiment with the settings unless there is something else going on?  I have found that you must be insistent. I had to twist arms to get mine changed.

I believe you will be dancing with your wife and working on the restoration of your car again soon. My best to you.

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