Clinical exercise prescription for Atrial Fibrillation

Darren E. R. Warburton, Shannon S. D. Bredin, Heather J. A. Foulds, Nicholas Giacomantonio


Exercise intolerance is common in persons living with Atrial Fibrillation increasing the risk for various secondary complications (such as stroke). Structured and individualized exercise prescription has been shown to be a highly effective means of addressing the increased risk for secondary complications. This document outlines the evidence-based best practice guidelines for developing individualized exercise prescriptions for persons living with Atrial Fibrillation. This includes a 5-page document that can be used by healthcare professionals and patients alike. This document has undergone a systematic evaluation, consensus panel review and approval process (consistent with the AGREE guidelines), and direct evaluation by healthcare professionals from across Canada. This process identified the various factors that need to be considered when determining the correct mode/type and intensity of exercise for persons living with Atrial Fibrillation. It was apparent that the application of generic physical activity guidelines (developed for healthy individuals) to the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation is not recommended. Based on a systematic evaluation of the literature and strong body of evidence, it was recommended that persons living with Atrial Fibrillation should engage in moderate intensity whole body aerobic activities progressing towards 60 min per session (3-5 days per week) for an improvement in quality of life and overall health status. Exercise sessions should also incorporate stretching, balance, and resistance exercises. Individuals next to exercise should progress towards this goal.


Medicine; Exercise; Physiology; Chronic Disease; Physical Activity; Health Promotion; Exercise Science; Kinesiology, Clinical Exercise Prescription

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ISSN: 19206216