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Could excessive exercising cause an irregular heart rate?

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Quick Answer

Studies show that too much high-intensity exercise over a long period of time can result in an irregular heart beat, according to Medical News Today. Results of a study conducted in Sweden that looked at the exercising habits of 44,000 men between the ages of 45 and 79 showed that those who engaged in high-intensity exercise in excess of five hours per week were 19 percent more likely to have an irregular heartbeat by the time they turned 60.

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Could excessive exercising cause an irregular heart rate?
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Full Answer

In general, the exercise intensity that is considered safe for an individual is determined by age; the same exercise program might be moderate for a 30 year old and very intense for a 60 year old. The development of an irregular heart beat, also known as atrial fibrillation, increases the likelihood of fatality by stroke or heart attack. A graph of the effects of exercise form what is called a J-shaped curve, wherein the benefits of exercise are high in the low-to-moderate ranges and then decline or even reverse when exercise is overly strenuous. Individuals who engaged in low intensity exercise such as walking or riding a bicycle for an hour a day at age 60 were found to be 13 percent less likely to develop an atrial fibrillation than those who engaged in no exercise at all, states Medical News Today.

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