Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

Will I be ok to join a local gym ?

And will I be ok to do all the exercise equipment or should I avoid some ?

I have had no information on what I should do or not do with an AAA.

Thanks for all your help and support.



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Comment by Kevin T Morgan on April 26, 2011 at 12:56

Hi! Mike,

Interesting question, to work out or not to workout with an AAA? I found mine last year a couple of weeks after my best Ironman time, had a stent inserted and now I am back on track getting ready for LPIM 2011. However, it was quite a journey. Here is what I recommended recently to another athlete (Dan) with a cardiac stent on my blog


Hi! Dan,
Concerning my races: I am getting ready for Eagleman and Lake Placid IM (5th time), both of which are qualifiers, and both of which I will be doing with my youngest son (a real triathlete). Recent lactate threshold-testing shows that I am back in my game, but I lost some time with the surgery and subsequent hypertension issues, all of which are talked about in my blog somewhere.
I’ll give you my thoughts and recommended approach based on my experience of a surprise AAA and subsequent ‘stenting.’
1. Sorry you have to go through this, but you will come out the other side, and if you are like most people there will be some fear or uncertainty to deal with, but that fades.
2. You have to be your own medical advocate, as you can get advice from lots of people but it is you that makes the final decisions. Most MDs have absolutely no idea how to deal with conditioned athletes!!!!
3. Read “It is not about the bike” and “Barefoot in November” for inspiration and encouragement. Helped me, anyway!
4. Try to find an MD who understands your situation, and better still a coach who is that too – I fortunately have Eric Bean who is perfect in this regard.
5. Do what you are doing to find resources. I have some listed on useful links on this blog. Clearly The Athletes Heart Blog, Cardiac Athlete, Heartosaurus, and are appropriate places to start, and I am sure there are more. Burt Cohen at is a great guy and you could contact him for ideas.
6. Post your questions on forums.
7. Become intimately familiar with the underlying biology of your situation. Where is your stent, and why is it such a big deal? Did you have 90+% blockage or something?
8. Carefully design your training to improve your health whilst reducing the risk of killing yourself to a minimum.
9. Make sure your family is happy with this, as they will be critical for support as you go along, however independent and macho a person you might be.
10. Ask people very specific medical/training questions and they will often do their best to research them and give you answers. Which brings me to ‘what is your training?’ I am a veterinary pathologist with years of research experience, including extensive training in fluid mechanics, disease pathogenesis, and molecular biology. I use these strengths to my advantage. What are your strengths in this regard, and how can you fill in the gaps. We all have gaps in our knowledge. IM is complicated.
11. Make a plan, and please work on body awareness, which will be critical for a safe and successful IM with or without a stent.
Don’t know if that helps, but it is the way I think.
If I can help in any way please let me know.


I think that this approach is reasonable for anyone in our situation, though I did not have a dissection. Take a look at some of the links on my blog, and I would recommend reading 'Barefoot in November' by Benjamin Casey.


Have fun at the gym, and do it right.




Kevin (Old Dog!)


Comment by Cheryl Kerber on April 23, 2011 at 2:11

I was told no weight lifting beyond resistance like of up to 5 pounds with hand weights --- no exercise that would cause you to bear down.  I am not to train for a marathon or push mow or shovel.  I think that pretty much describes what exercises are out of the question for me.  I agree completely to check with your physician/specialist for guidance, but I don't know if any of you are like me in that it depends on who I see.  I have had recommendations from my GP, from my surgeon, from a heart specialist and even the ER doctors.  They all are pretty much guessing beyond the bearing down kind of exercises like what weight lifters do.  They encourage walking or doing a treadmill or eliptical -- so pretty much cardio as long as I don't over-do.

Considering that my physician will go to extreme measures to keep me from getting a cough pretty much lets me know the risks.

You sound like you are in a very optimistic mode and I think that's great!


Comment by Mike Marven on April 14, 2011 at 22:12
Thanks for the advice Kimberlee and Graeme
Comment by Graeme on April 14, 2011 at 11:27

Hi Mike.


re gym. Make SURE you talk this thorugh with your doctor specialist first. A lot of us are on weight limitations as to lifting etc and you will need to consult your doctor first.





Comment by Kimberlee Jones on April 13, 2011 at 23:34
First talk with your cardiologist he/she will tell you your limitations. For me there is a weight limit of 5lbs, I was told cardio workout is good for me as long as I don't overdo it. I wouldn't start any exercise program until you speak with the cardiologist, you may be different than me. Since I have other issues since my repair. I know exercise is good but you need to know your limits first.



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