Are you past menopause and interested in using exercise as a way to lower your risk of developing atrial fibrillation?

A-fib is a significant risk factor for stroke.

As for how to approach exercise, housework and after-dinner walks are not enough to weigh in here.

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart rhythm disorder.

It increases the risk of blood clot formation in the heart — which can then lead to a heart attack.

Or, the blood clot that forms in the heart may travel to the brain and cause a stroke — which can lead to permanent physical and/or cognitive disability.

Physical Activity Cuts the Risk

The Journal of the American Heart Association says that of the women who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, those who were the most active enjoyed a 10 percent lower risk of acquiring atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

This association was present even if they were obese, though obesity is a big risk factor for A-fib.

The development of atrial fibrillation in these postmenopausal women was inversely proportional to their level of physical activity.

The greater their obesity, the greater the benefit of higher (more challenging) levels of activity against A-fib.

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Of course, the best case scenario is a high level of activity in the absence of obesity.

How an Older Woman Can Add Intensity to Their Exercise

– If you’re already using a treadmill, don’t hold on. Swing your arms naturally. Get your heart rate up so that you’re breathing hard and find conversation somewhat difficult.

– Do strength training and work hard at it; don’t just go through mere motions.

Focus on “big” moves with barbells, and/or push-pull machines such as the seated chest press or lat pull-down.

And don’t forget the leg press, leg extension and leg curl machines. Be breathing heavily at the end of a set.

– Take a group cardio class once a week.

Talk to your cardiologist about the risks of atrial fibrillation. intense exercise

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.  



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