A cardiologist addresses exercise safety in people with many PVCs, even nonstop.

Some people have premature ventricular contractions seemingly nonstop, thousands and thousands a day, and fear that exercise may not be safe for them.

“PVC’s had a bad reputation many years ago,” begins Monica Reynolds, MD, a cardiologist with ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group in White Plains, NY.

“When I was first in training, we were very aggressive in treating PVCs, especially in patients who had CAD, because the theory was that patients with PVCs were at high risk for cardiac arrest (V-fib or V-tach).”

CAD stands for coronary artery disease.

Dr. Reynolds continues, “In fact, we tried suppressing them with two infamous medications – Encainide and Fleciainide.  Unfortunately, more patients died from the medications than from the PVCs.

“Since then, we’ve done a lot more research on PVCs and ventricular arrhythmias and risk of sudden cardiac death.

“We now use beta blockers, amiodarone, and ICDs (implantable defibrillators) in patients at high-risk for sudden death (low EF, prior cardiac arrest, etc.).”

EF stands for ejection fraction, the amount of blood that the heart beats with each pump. A low EF corresponds to weak pumping ability.

Exercise with PVCs Is Safe for Healthy Individuals

“PVCs in a healthy patient are rarely anything to worry about,” says Dr. Reynolds.  “We usually will do a holter, echo, and stress test to screen for more ominous arrhythmias.


“Family history is also important to document, i.e., any family history of sudden death?

“Assuming everything checks out fine, then yes, you can exercise to your heart’s content (pun intended).  Exercise actually suppresses benign PVCs.”

Exercise is safe for those with premature ventricular contractions who are healthy. This includes strength training.

Don’t let PVCs stop you from exercise if your cardiologist has given you the green light.

Since 1992 Dr. Reynolds has practiced clinical cardiology at ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group, one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New York State.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.