Pulmonary Embolism Support Group

By far the most common form of pulmonary embolism is a thromboembolism, which occurs when a blood clot, generally a venous thrombus, becomes dislodged from its site of formation and embolizes to the arterial blood supply of one of the lungs. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, pain during breathing, and more rarely circulatory instability and death.

1 Online
1 Online

When is exercise good or bad?

Ok so I was admitted to hospital with bilateral pulmonary emboli 4 weeks ago and I know it is going to be a slow but sure recover but how much exercise is good and when is it bad? I'm in therapeutic range with my anticoagulation but have no idea what level of exercise is best for my recovery. Is it best to push myself to my limits to sort of retrain or do I need to keep things slow? What guidelines do I work on? Can I make things worse if I push myself too hard? I don't mind being out of breath and tired if it is going to help me to recover some cardiovascular fitness quicker but I just don't know if that is a good idea. What have other people been advised about levels of exercising?
Take care everyone.

Replies

RetiredNavy02
RetiredNavy02

Low impact is best at this point. You should be able to do what your body will allow. Just listen to your body and if it hurts, back down.

For me, about three months after my DVT/PE I started training for Mt Bike races. Most of that time was riding the roads trying to build endurance A six months post DVT/PE, I was racing (just as I cam off Coumadin).

Bike riding (road), walking, and swimming should be alright. Get your doctor's green light regarding your exercise plan before proceeding.
ShilosMommy
ShilosMommy

Yeah, I would definitely talk to your doctor before beginning anything, but I think exercise on some level is always good. My doctor had me up and walking at least 3 times a day even while I was still in the ICU, he felt that it was so important. I was so weak I had to be accompanied by a nurse or physical therapist, but he wanted me up anyway. And he told me later that whatever I felt able to do was fine, I wouldn't hurt myself. I did push myself, but in my case that just meant pushing myself to walk a little further every day. It was really hard, but things slowly get better and I think a little at a time you learn what your limits are and what's reasonable for you.
kerenza
kerenza

I am 6 months out and was told by my pulmonologist today that I should still be taking exercise slowly.
We all differ but as a rule if it hurts then slow down. I know I'm doing too much when I get light headed. It's frustrating but you'll get there xx
rmb
rmb

I had a similar situation as Shilosmommy, where my doc had me walking daily for very short distances when I was in the ICU and then once I was in the regular ward, walking several times a day as much as possible up and down the halls. It was painful because of the DVT and I was incrediblely week but it really prepares you for recovery and getting your strength back. Once I was out of the hospital, my doc said to go slow for a while , but otherwise, I had no real restrictions, except he didn't want me lifting weights. But within a few months, I was good to go. But you really have to talk to your doc first.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Listen to your body. I was back in spin class a month after PE. I had to take it a little slower and take several breaks, but I'm convinced it's helping to keep me strong.

My Dr's have said it's best to keep moving but to absolutely listen to your body. If it says to stop, stop...if you need to take a break, go with it.

I agree with everyon's sentiment of getting the green light from your Dr before diving in. Walking is a great way to start.
More2be
More2be

Your medical advisor is your arbiter.

In my case, the medical adviser was new to all this. I had the general guideline of "activity as tolerated" and was training for marathons again 3 weeks out of the hospital. I was running and finishing them 5 months out. Eventually I told him what I was doing and he did not object.

More on afflicted athletes is available at http://clot-buster-triathlete.blogspot.com/2009/04/april-athlete-of-month.html .
MSM24
MSM24

It's amazing how different the recovery is for everyone. I am almost two years out and I'm still not running. I have asthma so that doesn't help (it is activity induced). I would suggest walking. Of course use common sense if your chest is killing you it may be a good idea to not work out so hard! lol. My goal is to start back walking and try to progress again! good luck!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks for all your insight and advice. Yes I am planning on discussing this further with my Dr but at present he has said not to push things and just let my body recover for a while. It is really good to hear some of the activities you are doing now after your PE - gives me motivation to do the same. :)

I enjoy walking and have been doing daily walks for the last couple of weeks. I'm still trying to find the right balance though. Yesterday I walked probably 2 or 3 miles across a 4 hour period with a few stops at coffee shops. When I started feeling SOB I slowed down a bit more and it seemed to be OK and not too strenuous whilst I was doing the walking. However, in the evening I was very tired and went to bed early and now this morning I don't feel very rested and the tiredness has carried over.

Just out of interest has anyone tried using a Powerbreathe as part of their rehabilitation after PE?
markarina
markarina

Not tried the powerbreathe yet, but have been thinking about it, be interested to hear anybody's experiences on it.

In case some people don't know what it is, I believe from reading about it, that it is essentially a device that adds resistance to airflow causing you to work harder to breathe.
deleted_user
deleted_user

If anyone wants to know more info on Powerbreathe and inspiratory muscle training there are some excellent articles here http://www.fletchersportscience.co.uk/articles.php?id=cat45b8fec7d1a2a just keep in mind that these are generally for athletes rather than people with medical conditions.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Everyone is different and our PEs are all a bit different. I went from running a couple times a week to walking around my building (large building) a couple times a day. My severe bi-lateral pe that stopped my heart 3 times, happened 4 months ago today. Some days are good, some are bad. I have a hard time keeping it to the walking but I know that if I don't I will pay for it over the next couple days with severe chest pain.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Yes, that's what I'm finding. It isn't necessarily a problem to be more active but I pay for it that evening and the next day. I suppose after a couple more weeks I'll be able to gauge things a bit better and know the signs to how my body is likely to respond. I'd rather pace things so that I can do regular amounts of (hopefully increasing) exercise rather than a couple of more active days and then having to have 2 days of rest to recover.
Ferr
Ferr

LOL I have come to the conclusion that just being at work is Power Walking. Only I don't think your suppose to do it for 8-10 hours a day. By the way the extra medication to slow my heart Rate seems to be working and i don't feel my heart beating out of my chest just trying to function at work now. Maybe if this keeps up I'll be able to get back to doing things off level ground.
Ann60
Ann60

I take water aerobic classes which is easier on my body. I have pain in my leg if I don't wear my support hose. After wearing them for awhile they cut off circulation sometimes.
Ann
deleted_user
deleted_user

Just echoing what everyone else essentially said. My rule of thumb was: if it hurt, I stopped. I was actually just too damned scared to run for a while, but probably could have done so much sooner (but by that time I had lost one orthotic running shoe and was just lazy about replacing it until recently - how does one lose ONE shoe, I have no idea!). I was (am) very active and walk home 3-5 times a week from work over some big ol' hills here in San Fran and was back to doing that about 3 weeks post PE, but I hurt if I went more than 2 days in a row so I'd take a break. I gradually built back up and was back to walking every day about 2 months post. For me, I'm not so much concerned about shortness of breath as I am about pain. At this point (almost exactly 1 year later) I feel I can do anything (and more) than I used to do. I only just started running again last week ... but I was probably ready 3 or 4 months ago (mentally ... I would almost bet I was physically able to much earlier than that).

Good luck!