Can you exercise if you have a defibrillator?

Moderate exercise can keep implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) patients fit, without raising the shock risk.

Many people fear working out might cause their ICDs to deliver a shock to restore heart rhythm. However, moderate aerobic exercise, bowling or golf can improve cardiovascular health in patients who have received an ICD, without causing the device to deliver the shocks.

Moreover, recent studies show that for many people with ICDs who participate in strenuous sports the risk is actually low. The study followed more than 400 ICD patients that participated in soccer, basketball, running, volleyball, tennis, skiing, snowboarding, and other strenuous sports. Even though some of them received electrical shocks while participating in sports, they were not harmed.

It's important for people with ICDs who want to play strenuous sports to consult their doctors for their individualized decision. Your doctors should give you safe exercise heart rate limits for your ICD settings.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.


Alexander Marmureanu, M.D.

Alexander Marmureanu , M.D.

See Profile »
Willis H. Wagner, M.D.

Willis H. Wagner , M.D.

See Profile »
Philippe Lemoine, M.D.

Philippe Lemoine , M.D.

See Profile »
Farshad Malekmehr, M.D.

Farshad Malekmehr , M.D.

See Profile »
Keith Yabumoto, M.D.

Keith Yabumoto , M.D.

See Profile »
Thomas Togioka, M.D.

Thomas Togioka , M.D.

See Profile »
Duane Bridges, M.D.

Duane Bridges , M.D.

See Profile »
Shephal Doshi, M.D.

Shephal Doshi , M.D.

See Profile »
Ibrahim Helmy, M.D.

Ibrahim Helmy , M.D.

See Profile »
Farshad Nosratian, M.D.

Farshad Nosratian , M.D.

See Profile »
Basil Younes, D.O.

Basil Younes , D.O.

See Profile »
Howard Staniloff, M.D.

Howard Staniloff , M.D.

See Profile »
Shazia Hasan, M.D.

Shazia Hasan , M.D.

See Profile »