Looking for exercise/training advice with arrhythmia

Hi all,

I will try to keep this short, but I am looking for some advice with moving forwards with cycling/fitness with regards to my current situation.

I am a 26 year old male, and have previously cycled of the order of 10-12 hours a week mostly recreationally (with some structure, but no serious goals) during lockdown, up until earlier this year. I have type 1 diabetes, so I also have to deal with that and due to that I struggle to eat a LOT of carbs (I am fine eating as much as recommended on the bike, but struggle to eat more than 80-100g of carbs at once for meals otherwise, though I am trying to get more confident with this). Last year I developed some palpitations, which became a problem for me on a mental level and made me very anxious about cycling and pushing myself, and even resulted in me stopping cycling since March this year. I had a cardiologist diagnose my issue and although he said ‘as long as they’re not getting worse with exertion, you are probably going to be fine’, I really struggled to stop the anxiety around my heart, and hence stopped cycling.

Since then I have managed my anxiety in day-to-day life much more, such that now I feel more confident getting back on the bike. However, despite my interest in data and training, I’m not sure I have the confidence to really push myself to the max, or even push myself to deliver interval sessions at the ‘full level’.

Is there any point in trying to train if I am not going to be able to give it my all (eg. no FTP tests, so no real zones and no proper interval sessions etc. due to not wanting to push it, but also probably not ‘enough’ carbs also to really do such a dedicated amount of training anyway)? Is there anyone who has been in a similar situation who would offer advice?

Thank you!

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Kind of depends on the nature of your heart rhythm issues and the confidence you have in the diagnosis. If it’s a benign condition in the opinion of your cardiologist, you sort of just have to get on the bike and try not to obsess over it.

I have had palpitations on and off for much of my life. I went through some pretty thorough imaging and monitoring over the years just because at times they seemed to be getting worse, and each time my cardiologist was not concerned and fully cleared me for exercise. Nobody can tell you with 100% certainty that you’re going to be fine, but I trust that this is the best answer I am going to get and I simply try not to think about it.


It doesn’t sound like these are dangerous, but annoying/frightening so I think you should try not to worry about it. Presuming that it is paroxysmal atrial fibrillation like I have, the biggest trigger for me is dehydration. If I’m consistent about drinking a lot of water, and avoiding exercising when I am dehydrated a.k.a. hung over, it really hasn’t been an issue for me. I’m not sure I have ever had it on the bike, it happens after, when I’m recovering. But since I’ve been more thoughtful about my hydration, it’s a rare thing and never on the bike. I’ve had the condition since I was a kid, or at least my teen years, and didn’t know it was unusual until one night when I was 28 or so and it wouldn’t snap back into rhythm. I don’t think it limits my potential in any way. Regardless, I’m not competing for a pro contract so I will be the best me that I can be, with whatever gifts and limitations I have! I’m not going to not do something I love because of it; life is short for all of us, until my body says I really must stop I’m going to do what I enjoy doing. I hope you can do the same.


If your cardiologist says you can safely train and it’s the psychological aspect that is holding you back I’m not sure how to encourage you other than to share what happened for me.
I’ve suffered from a-fib for around 20 years. At one point I was in your situation. Exercise or anything strenuous frightened me. One day I finally had enough of getting fat and out of shape. (I was an athlete in high school) I just decided that I needed to put my fears aside and get back to the things I enjoyed. I know that’s over simplified, but I really just got fed up of being scared.


Thanks for the replies guys. Yes it is 100% something I think I just need to ‘accept’ and stop worrying about - I think the fact that I’ve been able to progress to that stage in the rest of my life is promising, now I just have to try and apply it to my time on the bike.

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I suffer from psvt (Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia) and PVC’s.

I was diagnosed after wearing a 72 hour holter monitor and then had an ultrasound of the heart and was basically told it was nothing to worry about and just to get on with it (I’m 57 so getting on a bit :wink: ).

I’ve had it for the last 8 years or so. Basically, I just get on with it. Riding about 8 to 10 hours a week with plenty of high intensity structured training in there too. We’re just back from a weeks HARD cycling in Mallorca where I’m pretty sure i didn’t have one episode. But just last night when i went out for a walk every 3rd beat was skipped and i had one episode of psvt. I’m one of the unfortunate ones that notice every skip and the psvt episodes.

Anyway, I’m still cycling and enjoying myself. And I still don’t know what triggers mine as i can go weeks without any episodes.

My episodes of psvt never last any more than 60 secs or so and are often gone in 5 or so secs.


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That’s good to hear. I think when diagnosed my cardiologist mentioned the ECG showed a couple of PVCs and PAC too, and in line with what he said these seem quite common and benign in most cases. I wish my brain would understand this more when they happen on the bike though!


Pvcs and pacs are common and generally benign as you say unless of course there is also heart disease present.

I’m on a journey myself with A Fib, got diagnosed in 2018 had two ablations in 2019, but it’s come back during 2022 (likely bought on by stress of family bereavement).

Like others the cardiologists are very keen for me to keep exercising and I’m just experimenting with a combination of two drugs to keep it under control. So if they are saying you can crack on without any drugs then make the most of it and enjoy!

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