Cycling back to fitness

Hi all, a week ago I had a dual chamber ICD fitted as a precaution for my hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  Still sore & swollen but getting better everyday & now starting to get some better sleep.  

I am a fairly keen cyclist but more social than competitive. A couple of friends & I have already booked a weeks cycling next September on the Camino Trail in Spain. I know i have time to build up slowly to this.

These forums are great to see you're not alone no matter what you're going through & how it affects different people differently. 

May i ask if any of you have any tips or do or don't experiences of getting back in the saddle. 

Many thanks, Mark



It's a personal journey

by crustyg - 2019-12-21 07:44:06

I went out an bought myself an ANT+ chest strap to go with my Garmin Edge 520, thinking I needed to watch that I wasn't pushing my HR into an arrhythmia.  Turns out that for me, it's really useful to make sure that I have a decent HR for the exertion involved - anything less than 100bpm for me is pretty much useless for more than a couple of pedal cranks.  But I have SSS+brady+chronotropic incompetence (my normal pacemaker is kaput, no activity at all), so I entirely depend on my box to raise my HR much beyond 100bpm (my AV node can manage that).

I've kept a training log for years (initially running but now all activity, classes, swimming etc.) and it's always been useful to record how I felt about an activity.  Reading that something that felt terrible was actually a PB is a wonderful encouragement to go out and do more.

Best wishes.

getting back in the saddle

by AgentX86 - 2019-12-21 14:02:53

Just do it.  As soon as you feel up to riding, do it.  But, start out slowly.  Yu don't want to hurt yourself but you also don't want to just sit very long or you'll lose more conditioning.  I walk (a lot) and was back at it on the second day after my implant.  Not as far as I usually do, and not at the gym (I was banned for a month) but just walking.  Walking isn't as strenuous as what you're talking about but it works for me.  It's difficult to ride in the halls around work, too.  ;-)

hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can have a lot of other things that go along with it, so these may hinder your road back.  You'll have to work around these.  As crusty suggests, monitoring your heart rate may be useful.  Again, depending on your symptoms, you may have to be more careful. My guess is that you were doing fine  before, so you should do fine on your way back.

The bad news is that if you have chronotropic incompetence (as Crusty noted) your pacemaker may not have been the best choice.  It only has an acellerometer to set the pace, so it needs to sense motion/bibration to know that you need more oxygen.  This may, or may not, work out for you riding a bile.  On bumpy roads your heart rate may shoot up.  On smooth roads you may not have enough oomph.  You're going to have to work closely with the tech in your device clinic to tune your pacemaker the way you want it.  I may take quite some time and you'll have to drive it.  I suggest that you go on the Medtronic web site and find the manual on your pacemaker.  You can try to figure out what knobs it has and understand what they do so that you can communicate your needs to your EP and device tech,



by SNORTINGDONKEY - 2019-12-22 12:34:27

Good luck! I hope you don't run into the issues AgentX86 your SA node okay?

Me too

by Donny - 2019-12-23 17:30:36

Hey Mark, I too was fitted with an ICD 6 weeks ago as a precaution to my HCM. I used to do HIIT cardio. Doc told me those days are over. Too risky. I was, however, back on the Max Trainer (Bowflex cross between an eliptical and stair stepper) a week post op. Nothing crazy, but I have worked up to a decent level of static cardio (135 BPM) with no problems after 6 weeks. Doc said I could go back to weight training now, but I am going to wait 2 more weeks for that.  Some days are better than others as far as energy level. Just listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Slow but steady does it. Hope this helps.......

Gym workout

by Ret.Jurdoc - 2019-12-25 01:18:09

The one restriction suggested by the EP nurse was to take it easy on military press. In otherwords don't go too heavy. 


by thegingergeneral - 2019-12-27 05:40:50

Hi & thanks for the comments. I have a 'long PR interval' with the HCM according to the Dr letter. I dont have any other health issues apart from the standard getting slightly older aches & pains. I am going to continue walking the dogs & stretch the time & distances. I'm going to wait for the 6 week technician check i think before i use the gym/bike & hopefully the weathe might be better then too. I always wear my Garmin watch when cycling but now permanently which tracks heartbeat so i can look at that live & afterwards. 

As a few stated I'm going to go slowly & listen to my body, cheers for insights....

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My pacemaker is intact and working great.