Can I exercise with a pacemaker?

Pacemakers are commonly placed to treat several types of abnormal heart rhythms, including bradycardia.

The type and amount of exercise that is allowable will vary depending on the cause of your abnormal heart rhythm and whether you have other forms of heart disease.

A few generalizations can be made:

  • People who have irregular heart rates (arrhythmias) caused by other forms of heart disease (such as cardiomyopathy or valvular heart disease) may need to limit their activity because of the other heart disease.
  • People who have a pacemaker should not participate in contact sports because the device can be damaged. Sports such as swimming, jogging, walking, tennis, golf, and bicycling are safer.
  • Pacemakers often are used to improve your ability to exercise.

Last Updated: June 18, 2009

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