Have you noticed a fluttering heartbeat or heart palpitations during your weight workouts or shortly after? Should you be unnerved about this experience?
“Weightlifting due to the muscular exertion delivers an increased return of blood to the heart due to the pumping effect of skeletal muscle,” says Dr. Ronald Scheib, MD, cardiologist, Medical Director at Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami.
“By abruptly increasing the volume of blood returning to the heart chambers, it will increase the pressure and produce dilatation of the chambers that are involved in controlling heart rhythm,” continues Dr. Scheib. “As a consequence, abrupt lifting weight can produce transient arrhythmias.”
Don’t let the medical lingo frighten you; this occurrence is benign. If you’re having heart palpitations seemingly related to lifting weights, there’s yet another possible cause.
And that’s anxiety, which can be over anything, including your weight lifting regimen. In between weight lifting sets you may find yourself worrying about something, such as a relationship or job situation, and as a result, you have palpitations.
The weight lifting didn’t cause the palpitation, but that just happens to be what you were doing shortly before you felt it. The mix of increased blood volume and stress can bring on heart palpitations.
These benign possibilities don’t mean that you can’t have an actual pathology that needs treatment. Pay attention to when your heart has palpitations and see if there’s a pattern.
See a cardiologist and maybe get some tests just to make sure all is fine. I know for a fact that in my case, extreme anxiety can bring on heart palpitations (my MR angiogram and echocardiogram were normal).