Do you know which exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Regular exercise offers many health benefits, but there are exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Some forms of physical activity may not be safe with a prolapsed mitral valve and can actually worsen the condition.
Engaging in the wrong types of exercise can trigger and aggravate MVP symptoms. In addition, complications can develop when there is repeated strain on the heart and its structures. It can even lead to arrhythmias and sudden death.
What are the worst exercises for MVP? High-intensity exercises that raise blood pressure significantly and elevate the heart rate for continuous lengths of time, such as aerobics. In other words, cardio exercises that are extremely intense. Older adults, people with hypertension, and those taking heart medications are especially at risk. Resistance training can also cause problems.
What are some exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Burpees are a good way to increase strength and boost fitness while spicing up an exercise routine. In fact, few exercises will get you as fit as the burpee. As a bonus, it can be done anywhere without the need for expensive workout equipment. Burpees aren’t suitable for everybody, though, and when a person has MVP, there are many exercises that are safer and a lot less strenuous.
The burpee, or squat thrust, is a staple of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It is a full-body exercise that works almost every muscle in the body. This is why extreme athletes and elite military forces often incorporate burpees into their workouts. Great when you have a normal heart that functions properly. Not so great when a person has a heart valve disease like mitral prolapse.
With burpees, the main issue is the incredibly high intensity of the exercise. Performing them involves doing squats, jumps, and push-ups repeatedly at a rapid pace, which increases the heart rate dramatically. Not only can this cause unpleasant MVP symptoms, but also it can lead to cardiovascular events, making burpees one of the top exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
2. Jumping rope
Rope jumping is another vigorous exercise that effectively boosts fitness and health. It builds strength, it enhances stamina and endurance, and it burns more calories than most other exercises. It also improves coordination, and according the Jump Rope Institute, rope jumping may even make you smarter. Nevertheless, despite all the benefits, it is usually best to give rope jumping a skip.
Jumping or skipping rope, like performing burpees, works most of the muscles of the body and delivers a physical intensity that can be unsafe in those with a prolapsing bicuspid valve and/or a leaky mitral valve. It can be very intense and get the heart pumping to dangerous levels. The longer the duration of the exercise and the more jumps one performs per minute, the riskier the workout.
MVP sufferers interested in minimizing the frequency and intensity of mitral prolapse symptoms such as palpitations and skipped heartbeats should not engage in rope jumping. In general, jumping rope is one of the many exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse because it has the potential to worsen the prolapse condition and lead to life-threatening problems involving the heart.
Jump-based workouts like plyometrics can cause problems with a prolapsed mitral valve. Plyometrics (plyos) are high-impact exercises that primarily target the lower body. They are great for building strength, enhancing speed and agility, and toning muscles and burning calories, although their vigorous nature makes them a risky exercise choice for those with heart valve disease.
Plyometric exercises involve using explosive bodyweight movements to exert maximum force on muscles in the shortest amount of time. That increases power and speed and promotes fat loss but can be harmful with MVP. While plyometrics are not generally considered aerobic, they will elevate heart rate when jumps are repeated without pausing for more than 30 seconds at a time.
Plyometric exercise shocks the body and activates the elastic, quick-response properties of the major muscles. This can benefit heart-healthy individuals aiming to improve fitness and athletes engaging in sports such as basketball, tennis, and squash. However, when it comes to MVP and incompetent or leaky heart valves, plyometrics are exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
For most people with a prolapsing mitral valve, jogging is beneficial exercise that is relatively safe to engage in. A light 20-minute jog each day can lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, and strengthen the heart. Endurance running and sprints, on the other hand, can be dangerous. Mitral valve prolapse has been linked to sudden cardiac death in marathon runners and healthy athletes.
Does MVP cause sudden death in runners? There is a possibility that it can, particularly with certain types of MVP and severe mitral regurgitation. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology even released mitral valve prolapse exercise recommendations in 2015 for athletic participation. Similar recommendations were released by the European Society of Cardiology.
Bottom line, running is one of the exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. It is a high-impact, high-intensity physical activity that is risky. Also, it can amplify and trigger MVP symptoms. Thinking about adding running to your exercise routine? Check with your doctor first to ensure that it is safe to do so. Also, consider that many low-intensity exercises offer the same health and fitness benefits.
5. Weight training
Weight training, aka resistance training, can be very beneficial, for both men and women. It increases the strength of muscles, connective tissue, and tendons, and it improves bone density. Training with weights also promotes fat-free body mass, which is important as we age. But when there’s a prolapsing mitral valve and mitral prolapse symptoms, weight training can do more harm than good.
Can you lift weights with mitral valve prolapse? Most people with MVP are able to, but because resistance training raises blood pressure, strains the heart, and can trigger prolapse symptoms, this is an exercise to avoid. Many doctors will give the OK for lifting weights that aren’t too heavy. Training with weights to increase muscle mass drastically, though, is generally not recommended.
Training with heavy weights is not advisable with MVP. It stresses the heart’s chambers and its valves. In cases of severe mitral prolapse with regurgitation and other cardiovascular problems, exercising with dumbbells, weighted bars, and weight stacks, etc., can be unsafe. With MVP, adding weight lifting to one’s list of exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse is normally a good idea.
Are there any other things to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Yes. There are sports to avoid with mitral valve prolapse that can have the same effects as mitral valve prolapse and exercise that is strenuous. Competitive sports, particularly those that are physically demanding, can dramatically increase pressures on the left ventricle and the mitral valve. Therefore, it makes sense not to engage in such activities when a person has MVP for safety purposes.
Then, there are also foods to avoid with MVP and medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. A lot of common foods can trigger or intensify MVP symptoms and lead to complications, and many everyday drugs can be dangerous. Over-the-counter medications like nasal decongestants for colds and flu, for example, can elevate blood pressure and interfere with prescription drugs.
MVP tends to follow a benign course. However, the condition isn’t always harmless, and when mitral prolapse is symptomatic and/or problems or complications develop in the body, living with it can be challenging. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available. Many of the best options involve making changes like cutting out exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.