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Can you exercise with a heart murmur?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The heart is an essential organ and it is wise to be attentive to any anomaly that may occur in it. Heart murmurs are a sign characterized by the emission of a slight sound or hiss by this organ, before which the person may feel obviously concerned and will seek to determine and eliminate the risks that they may produce. However, depending on the progress or severity of the murmur and the factors that produce it, a considerably normal and active life can be led without taking risks.

In this FastlyHealarticle we will describe this condition, answering whether you can exercise with a heart murmur and what extra care should be taken into account.

Heart murmur: causes and symptoms

A heart murmur is a sign in which an irregular hissing or sound is heard in the chest , produced in the heart, either during diastole (relaxation and blood flow) or systole (contraction). Most of these murmurs are benign or so-called functional, which are harmless and, in most cases, appear in children as part of their growth peculiarities, but they do not represent a great threat in most cases.

Heart murmurs, however, can also be due to congenital heart disease or complications, so you should always go to a specialist doctor in order to detect the cause of this abnormal sign and, if it is a cause that represents danger, work in alleviating or eliminating the causative phenomenon.

Some of the main triggers for heart murmurs that are not benign or that may represent major complications in the future are:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Regurgitation or aortic valve regurgitation
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Rheumatic fever

Are heart murmurs dangerous?

Benign heart murmurs in children and adults usually go away on their own over time, and most of them pose no threat. In the event that this symptom arises from other causes, a normal life can be led, depending not only on the cause, but on the degree of said murmur indicated by the specialist. For heart murmurs there is a classification from grade I (mild) to grade VI (more delicate and compromising):

  • In the cases of the first 2 degrees , the symptoms do not go beyond a slight sound and without major health complications in some situations only (lying down, sitting, standing), both at rest and during physical activity.
  • In grades III and IV , the complication is more constant, and some additional symptoms may appear and it will depend on the determined cause and the particular conditions of each patient to know the intensity of the exercise that they can perform. However, at least one regular physical activity should be able to maintain this without problem.
  • For grades V and VI , the murmur is already accompanied by fatigue, pain and / or a feeling of tightness in the chest, among other symptoms both at rest and during physical activity. Here if it will be advisable to avoid physical activities that require working on the heart until the causes are not addressed and solved, or at least there is an advance in the treatment.

Can you play sports while having a breath?

Regardless of the severity of the murmur, if complications are to be avoided, there are certain exercises that must be reduced or eliminated , as they can place excess pressure or work on the heart. A person with a mild to moderate heart murmur can even do high intensity workouts (called HIIT) or cardio exercises normally. The type of exercise that is not really recommended for these cases are strength exercises and lifts that are carried out holding the air, also called hyperpressure exercises. This includes avoiding that last rep on some bodybuilding sets that you sometimes do without breathing.

In a patient with a heart murmur who wants to continue his sports activity, he must be monitored to breathe during all the strength exercises he performs. This does not mean that strength and muscle mass development work is not done, since, for example, you can do weightlifting with continuous breathing.

Heart murmur and physical exercise: recommendations

Regardless of the degree of the murmur, the person who suffers from it, especially if he is an adult, should be kept under periodic medical supervision at least every 6 or 12 months and follow the therapeutic indications that are assigned. The patient must pay continuous attention to the murmur, if it increases in intensity or frequency, or if any pain emerges. If the individual is a constant bodybuilder or athlete, they should keep their training under the supervision of a trained trainer to understand this situation and / or undergo a cardiac stress test to know the maximum safe effort to perform or if there are no risks.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Can you exercise with a heart murmur? , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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