A pacemaker cannot stop your movement. You can carry your daily routine as usual after getting a pacemaker installed. And if you are wondering can I do yoga with a pacemaker then we have got you covered.
Getting through heart surgery and having a pacemaker installed after that can cause a drastic change in your lifestyle. People who have got a pacemaker installed prefer to keep themselves fit and healthy and look out for exercises for themselves.
However, after installing a pacemaker, there come limitations to what sort of exercises an individual can do, one of them being Yoga, the ancient practice involving meditation, movement, and breathing techniques for physical and mental well-being.
Regular practice of Yoga can lead to flexibility, strength, endurance, calmness, and well-being. In this article, we will discuss if Yoga can be practiced by those who have a pacemaker.
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What Is A Pacemaker?
Firstly, we need to understand what a pacemaker is.
A pacemaker generates small electrical impulses which help the heart muscle to contract, thereby pumping blood into the body. The pacemaker regulates the function of the electrical conduction system of the heart.
We now need to understand a bit about the design of the pacemaker and what doctors say about it.
Pacemakers consist of two basic parts: a generator and leads. A generator is implanted under the skin between the shoulder and chest, and the wires known as leads stretch from the generator to the heart.
The design of the leads allows free movement and is designed to flex when the shoulder or arm nearest to the pacemaker has movement in everyday activity.
Doctors advise patients to exercise with caution while lifting weights, rowing, and arm strengthening machines. Doing them repetitively or every day can wear out the parts of the leads. Any activity involving the excessive extension of the arm nearest to the pacemaker should be avoided.
This is applicable in Yoga, where precaution has to be taken for activities involving arm extension that needs to be avoided. Yoga poses that involve excessive extension lead to crushing the lead between the first rib and collar bone.
Practicing Yoga after getting a pacemaker installed should only be done upon the approval of the doctor.
Further, body awareness is encouraged and should be approached slowly. There needn’t be any jerky movements while practicing the poses.
Some Of The Do’s While Practicing Yoga With A Pacemaker
- Do shoulder stands or legs against the wall as an alternative to a full handstand or a scorpion.
- Doing a bridge as an alternative to wheels.
- Doing less deep back bending with hips on the hands. Poses such as the camel pose or full camel pose.
- Do a single-armed floor bow with a used strap on the pacemaker side or perform a locust pose instead of a complete floor bow.
- Doing a Chaturanga into a modified plank.
Things To Take Care Of While Doing Yoga With Pacemaker
- While performing Sun Salutations, there are many options for the backbends, like the upward-facing dog, baby cobra, and sphinx cobra.
- Binding work may be too much from the pacemaker’s end; that is why it is recommended to do a half bind or choose a strap.
- It is important to be mindful of your breathing as it can affect your heart rate. Most practices in Yoga involving breathing practices are alright, but if you feel lightheaded or dizzy, you should stop the breathing practice and resume your normal rhythm of breathing. It is important to focus on your breathing while practicing Yoga and be aware of it while on a pacemaker.
- Deep backbend poses where arms undergo a lot of tension can cause them to pull out the leads, which could seem to be the biggest concern for active people with a pacemaker.
- Being careful not to pull out a lead, the yoga poses can be adopted while being on the mat. Don’t be disappointed because you can always pursue other options in your yoga class since there are no expectations or judgments in Yoga.
- Understand your body and choose modifications or alternatives to your Yoga exercise.
- You mustn’t pass out or hurt yourself during practice. Hence, it is very important to inform your yoga instructor about your pacemaker as they can provide you with alternatives according to your condition.
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Some More Tips
As far as Practicing Yoga is concerned, after installing a pacemaker, patients should begin slowly and then resume their normal motion with movements after three months of successful implantation.
The three months after installing the pacemaker is crucial after implantation. It is important to give time and understand how your body and heart respond to it.
Moreover, the strength and endurance of the shoulder and the body gets restored. It is important to be aware by paying close attention to discomfort or pain and refrain from movements causing them. A person’s performance in Yoga is dependent more on their overall fitness and age than them having a pacemaker.
Yoga is more than just a typical workout and is meant to bring balance to your body by being helpful and restorative.
Answers To Commonly Asked Questions
What can you not do after a pacemaker?
After installing a pacemaker, stretching and strenuous activity should be avoided for 4-6 weeks, after which you can resume most of your activities and even sports.
However, playing contact sports such as rugby or football, it is very important to avoid a collision as it can cause damage to the pacemaker. Wearing a protective pad is advised while playing sports.
Some of the other things to keep in mind and not do are, using an induction hob if it is less than 2 feet away from your pacemaker and keeping MP3 players 6 inches away from your pacemaker. Mobiles and cordless phones can be used but in the opposite ear of the pacemaker.
Can a person with a pacemaker exercise?
A person with a pacemaker can do moderate to vigorous exercise. Exercise such as strength training and aerobic activity is safe for persons with pacemakers. Experts recommend physical activity as it contributes towards better health.
What exercises to avoid with a pacemaker?
The exercises to avoid with a pacemaker are moderate to vigorous exercises using the upper body such as bowling, weights, swimming, golf, tennis, etc., for 4- 12 weeks. You can resume these exercises upon approval from your doctor.
Contact sports such as hockey and football should also be avoided. Exercises involving an extensive range of motion in the shoulders should also be avoided during the first six weeks of the surgery and even after that, as the pacemaker leads can get damaged.
Can I do pushups with a pacemaker?
Doing push ups using a pacemaker is not allowed as it can cause the lead wires of the pacemaker to get damaged. Because of which the pacemaker will not function properly since the wire leads are placed near the arm.
And an excessive extension of the arm nearest to the pacemaker can wear out the parts of the leads. It is advisable to check with your doctor to get into any strenuous activity of going in for stretching and extension activities.
Can you do Yoga with a pacemaker?
Yoga can be done while you are on a pacemaker. Get your doctor’s approval before starting Yoga and inform the yoga instructor that you have a pacemaker. This will help the yoga instructor to provide you with alternative yoga exercises.
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