If your heart pounds or races after bending over and then standing back up, there is good news and also bad news for you.
The good news is that this does not mean you’re going to have a heart attack soon.
The bad news is that it’s a sign of a risk factor for a heart attack down the road.
“In persons who are sedentary and are physically unfit, any effort, even bending over, may be associated with excessive acceleration of the heart rate which may result in the sensation of heart pounding,” explains Morton Tavel, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, and author of “HEALTH TIPS, MYTHS, AND TRICKS: A Physician’s Advice.”
“Beyond that, there is little explanation for such a phenomenon,” adds Dr. Tavel.
Being out of shape, lacking fitness, is a risk factor for heart disease – which can eventually lead to a heart attack.
Severe coronary heart disease takes years to develop, but it’s never too early to get in better shape so that your heart doesn’t think you’re running up flights of stairs when all you’re doing is bending over and straightening back up.
People with chronic heart failure, when the heart does not pump blood well, often report shortness of breath when bending over – before they even stand back up.
They are advised by their doctors to avoid bending over whenever possible.
One of the risk factors for chronic heart failure is lack of exercise and leading a sedentary life.
GET MOVING. Inactivity is considered by many researchers and physicians to be as potent a risk factor for heart disease and heart attacks as is smoking and obesity.
The human body was meant to do a lot of moving throughout the day, rather than spending hours and hours every day in a seat.
If your heart pounds or races simply because you bent over and stood back up, ask yourself if it pounds when you also dash from one room in the house to another or carry groceries into the house from the car.
The good news is that being in crummy shape due to the absence of an exercise regimen is extremely curable.
If you’re worried about your heart, then start working out, and if you smoke, quit.
Dr. Tavel’s medical research includes over 125 publications, editorials and book reviews in peer-reviewed national medical journals. He was formerly director of the cardiac rehabilitation program at St. Vincent Hospital in Indiana. mortontavel.com
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.