I'll be getting a defibrillator soon. I'm 61 and have been into exercising since I was 16. Since I'm older now, I do lighter weights, more repetitions. I keep hearing conflicting things, no more weight lifting at all, lighter weight, more reps are OK and on and on. It is very important to be to keep my body tight and defined. I can't stand the thought of quitting. Tell me about what you all know about all that. Ralph


Keeping it up

by Persephone - 2020-12-29 23:19:57

Hi Ralph - I'll let others w ICDs weigh in here (I have a 2 lead PM), but on the surface of it, I don't see any reason why you would need to give up your workouts, after you heal.  If adaptation is needed, it sounds like you are very well versed in making accommodations in your workouts to suit the need.  You'll be able to move forward and continue to do the things you want to do, albeit with potential modifications.  Many people here on this site say they start back with yoga...there are great, free sources online, and some of these gentle exercises can begin very soon after your implant.  I agree that it is important to keep the mind-body connection going.  Please consult your medical team about the path forward to get back to your workouts.


by AgentX86 - 2020-12-29 23:56:16

Hi Ralph, welcome to the group but we know you don't want to be here.  None of us do. ;-)

After a month, give or take, there aren't any weight restricions.  It takes that month to completely heal the incision and for the leads to embed in the heart completely.  It's highly unlikely but possible to pull the leads out of the heart wall untill they're well embedded.  After that month your good to go (a full golf swing may take another month or two).

As far as weight lifting goes, I was told to avoid pressing any free weights because a slip could crush the leads between the bar and bone.  Other than that, there were no lifting restrictions.  You'll find that after the first few months the number of restrictions drops to almost zero.  Your EP should give you guidance here.


by Tracey_E - 2020-12-30 10:30:26

Ask your doctor. Unless your heart issues prevent you from working out or your placement is particularly shallow, you should be able to do what you want. Just having the device is not a reason to not be able to work out once we fully heal.  

I'm a few years younger than you at 54. I do Crossfit and do not hold back. I do push ups, pull ups, barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, throw around sandbags, whatever they come up with. I run half marathons and have done a handful of adventure races/mud runs like Spartan. I know some doctors caution against some of this but my ep is in a specialized adult congenital practice in a large research hospital so sees a LOT of patients paced for a lifetime and he's not at all worried about damaging leads. He not only is ok with it but actively encourages it because he feels being fit is the number one priority. I've been doing CF almost 10 years now, been paced 26, no negative side effects whatsoever. Just the opposite, my last echo was excellent and I breezed through my last stress test. 


by Tracey_E - 2020-12-30 12:19:28

Doctors vary widely in how conservative they are in our instructions. Some have a lot of experience with active patients, others treat mostly sedentary patients. Some are concerned about lead damage, others don't worry about it. Bottom line is  there is not a lot of data, no studies, no uniform guidelines. Ask what your doctor feels is safe for you, then decide what you are comfortable with.

My doctor is quite liberal about what he feels is safe. There are other doctors who would not agree. For me, being active is a huge part of who I am, what makes me feel good, so even if I were told there was a  higher likelihood of damage, it wouldn't change my choices because I think being fit is far more important than taking a small chance with my leads. I'm congenital so have spent a lot of hours in cardiologists' waiting rooms and on the cardiac floor of hospitals over the years, and I've seen more than the average person the toll not being fit takes on the body as we age. I will never go there, will never be diagnosed with something I could have prevented with better diet and regular exercise. So I will continue to exercise as hard as I can for as long as I can. YMMV

All of this assumes your doctor is ok with heavy exercise at all! For me, the pacer basically fixes what's wrong and my doctor feels pushing hard is safe for me. I have an echo every  year and stress test and holter every other year to make sure nothing has changed. 


by Atom Ant - 2021-01-13 20:59:17

Just saying thanks to everyone that wrote back. The reason it took me so long to write back is because tonight was the first time I figured out that there was a way to do it. I should have asked my five year old grandson how to do it. He's better on computers than I am.       ralph

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