Gym Anxiety Due To Heart Palpitation Fears?

December 9, 2016

“Gym Anxiety is Common, You’re Not Alone.”

For many years I feared the workout area. Imagine that line coming from someone who is a professional tennis player for an occupation, but it’s true. I feared walking, biking, weight lifting, yoga, all the things that people told me would benefit me in regards to overcoming my anxiety disorder.

They all meant well I know, but little did they know about my situation. Every skipped heart beat, every palpitation was a sign of impending doom to me. Since exercising brought out all the anxiety symptoms I experienced daily in a more heightened level, I stayed clear of exercising for a very long time.

I was what you would call an anxious spy, constantly checking in and being one with all the sensations my body experienced

But one day something happened. I began changing my view-point, and it was the result of perseverance on my part as well as my than anxiety ‘mentor.’ Before this turnaround I was in a 3 week ‘shock thought therapy’ program for my gym anxiety that I had made for myself, and it did wonders for me and my anxiety levels. I began to tip the scales towards a new direction.

Watch This Powerful Video On Gym Anxiety, And Share With Other Forums To Help Others:

I began to make a connection between NOT exercising and having a heart problem, rather than exercising and having a heart problem. Each morning I woke up and completely stepped out of my normal anxious brooding of how my day would go. I replaced it with spending 20 minutes upon waking to condition my mind towards the benefits of exercise, in regards to my heart fears.

I read books, I viewed videos, I did anything I could think of that would take me out of my previous connections

Old Anxious Formula – Exercise = Potential heart failure, heart explosion, fainting etc

New Formula – No Exercise = Potential heart failure, heart explosion, fainting etc

Apologies about the heart explosion part, but we anxious people do think the absolute worst in all scenarios. So you can see how a simple 20 minute morning shock thought therapy can do wonders for you in so many ways. All you have to do is some research, come up with a few role models you wish  to follow that promote and connect a healthy heart with exercising, and begin slowly taking steps towards proving to yourself that your past beliefs were not true.

This idea of shock therapy actually came to me through my new workout regimes. My personal trainer had the idea of changing up your workout routine every now and then, so that the new exercises you do would shock your muscles into new growth. This can easily be applied to our thoughts, and how we have conditioned ourselves for so long to fear exercise.


So let’s wrap everything up and get you moving in the right direction starting today. I want you to do two things starting today: The first one is to commit 20 minutes each morning as soon as you wake up to educating yourself on the benefits of exercise specifically for the heart. Secondly, begin with small walks for the next week consciously being aware of your surroundings rather than your inner world. By implementing these two steps into your daily life, you’ll be well on your way to overcoming heart fears due to exercise.

Share your experiences below…

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47 comments on “Gym Anxiety Due To Heart Palpitation Fears?

  1. George Oct 26, 2014

    exercise anxiety is a huge fear of mine. I wanna work out and lose weight and be healthy. However not only do I fear the heart racing from cardio and the palpitations I also have after exercise fears. If I lift weights and it makes my chest sore I then worry about my heart again. Grrrr it’s so hard. But I am trying.

    • Incredible what a mental tug of war we have gone through and continue to go through. Thanks for sharing George.

    • Rachele Oct 26, 2014

      I have the same fears as George making me not want to exercise at all especially if it increases my chances of fainting, getting injured or anything to that nature. I fear that it making me worse, but I know how important it is to move throughout the day. I am trying light exerices, small steps to get started.

  2. Janice Oct 26, 2014

    I have always been an anxious person, but I did always do *some* exercise (mostly swimming and yoga and caring for our horses) however in the last year my anxiety has greatly increased and I have developed a huge fear of having a heart attack and dying so I am hugely aware of pains in my chest/arms (which are no doubt muscle related rather than anything sinister). Why now? I’m 44, my life isn’t terrible, my only child is now grown up and my parents have both died so I have no real dependents apart from my horses and my partner. I thought I was a freak so it is comforting to know others feel the same.

    Anyway, I would say the Anxiety Guy is right, it’s good to just do a bit and hopefully build your. No matter how this new random obsession occupies my thoughts I have to do the physical chores for my horses, and this really does keep me from tipping into the abyss. .

  3. Lizzy Oct 26, 2014

    Wow! This has been a fantastic article! Yes I am also in that same boat. I vowed to get up and do 20mins of exercise in the comfort of my own home, my “safe zone”.
    Thank you so much for all your help 🙂

  4. Kelly Oct 26, 2014

    This is the best thing I have EVER READ as this is and has been my number 1 problem, when I have discussed this with Drs and psychologists they have laughed at my but it has been a true fear, I thought I was going mental and being overweight also. Thank you so very very much I’ll be printing this off and sticking it to my fridge, your a true honest trooper.

  5. Jarrad Oct 28, 2014

    This article rings all too true for me.
    I am a healthy – according to my exasperated doctor – reasonably fit 27 year old man, with my whole life ahead of me; sincerely blessed. However, heart related anxiety is an issue I have had to deal with, everyday, for the past two or more years.
    I use to play Basketball, do Kung Fu, lift weights – all without a thought. Now, every little bit of exertion equals worrisome thoughts about my heart, blood pressure – things the doctor has told me countless times to “not worry about.”
    Its a very vulnerable feeling; exercising. I feel at the mercy of the structures of my body. What if something isn’t functioning at 100 percent? Could I be the one in a million to die today doing a barbell curl? Then the physical sensations start – It is a feeling of mortality more than anything. The feeling that, I may not be here the next moment. It spooks me.
    Having said that, I have made improvements. I walk an hour every morning, and do some light weights straight after. I am trying to ease into Basketball – my first game two weeks ago caused a MAJOR anxiety attack – I am genuinely trying to have a good hard go at this. I use to feel supremely healthy after exercise, now I feel vulnerable. I will be taking on your method of ‘re-education’, to rewire my thoughts and subconscious on the relationship between exercise and heart health. I long for the healthy glow I use to feel – anything to replace the irrational worry and emotional pain.

    • Thanks Jarrad for the valuable input. These thoughts and feelings truly can become an auto pilot kind of process, and must be reconditioned. The main thing to think about is trying to deal with the initial fear, the first sign of an irrational, thought when it pops its head. Once a new reaction is in place, we become disinterested in time with those anxious behaviors and thinking ways.

      • this past March I became very sick with mycoplasma pneumonia and I didn’t sleep for a week …. My heart would palpitate and race from the lack of sleep and stress and a few panic attacks later led to serious health anxiety … To make a long story short I have always been super active and loved exercise but I fear it at times now and find myself checking my heart rate often ugghhh so frustrating

        • It sure is. Then you get to the point of overcoming the fear of one symptom, and strangely enough your focus turns to a new one. We’re always scanning for danger as humans, that part I understand. But this kind of wiring has little use in today’s much safer world that we live in.

  6. Whitney Nov 4, 2014

    i am a bit up and down with exercising. Until I began Lexapro I always got a painful chest while exercising and it really put me off. Now I have to exercise so that I sleep better, keep my mind clear and to boost endorphins. I could’t even do 5 mins on an exercise bike but eventually I got it up to an hour no problem. I do fear walking outside and people looking at me – I lived across the road from a retirement village and after a while I realized that if the old people could get out everyday so could I. I still have fears though, I found it hard to go out after moving house recently – because I tend to stick to my walking route and now I have to come up with a new one.

    • The fear of judgement is present within many people in today’s world Whitney. I’m sure soon enough you’ll understand that you truly CAN’T read minds that well, and what you think people are thinking about you is completely false 🙂

  7. Brittany Nov 4, 2014

    Needed to read this. After having a pulmonary embolism a few years ago, I still find myself questioning every twinge or pain.

  8. chris Nov 4, 2014

    How do you handle this exercise anxiety if you do have a heart condition but one that isn’t supposed to be harmful? I have A Fib and panic attacks. So I want to exercise but my panic tells me my A Fib will harm me? Any Advice?

    • Hi Chris, as long as you are taking care of your apparently mild heart condition, the best way to build up enough courage and confidence is to learn from someone who has been in your own shoes. Nothing decreases anxiety faster than seeing someone who was once in your same shoes overcome their own struggles. Keep registering the positives that exercise will bring to you.

  9. Theresa Nov 4, 2014

    I am a 37 yr old married mother of 2. I was in the Army and was very physically fit for years. On Dec 31, 2012 at 9pm I had my heart attack although it was not until about 2 months later that my doctor figures out what had happened. He said I was too young for such things and thought I was crazy until I pushed him to do the tests. They found a part of my heart is not getting blood and is damaged. I had a heart cath done and there are no blockages. Just the one that cleared itself that fateful night. I have been on blood pressure meds ever since and have been told to avoid any and all stress. It has been a challenge. I have had a lot of anxiety about getting back to exercising. I walk with my son and want to get back to running but am always afraid to get my heart rate up because 1) I’m afraid of causing another heart attack or even a stroke and 2) I no longer have health insurance. As much as I know that exercising will help, I am still scared out of my mind it will happen again.

    • Hi Theresa. Past experiences can greatly contribute to living a life filled with fear, coping, and just getting by. The part you must understand is that the heart is a muscle, and unless a muscle gets worked it becomes weak and eventually loses all it’s strength. Think about the benefits exercise will make in your life, rather than listening to that critical voice in your head that keeps reminding you of the past. You can get through this time by starting slow, defying your fears, and strengthening your most important muscle in your body again.

  10. Demi Marshall Nov 4, 2014

    I am so glad I came across this! I always feel so stupid trying to explain to people that I am scared of exercising, but I truly am! As soon as I get out of breath and my heart starts racing I go into panic mode and think I’m going to be sick, pass out, have a heart attack which then only makes my heart go faster. I would love to retrain my brain into linking it back with positivity again and not the anxious thoughts constantly!

    • Demi this is a cycle that haunts many people with health anxiety. The best advice I can give you to overcoming this fear is to stop looking for ways around your fears, and simply find the best solution THROUGH your fears. Look up a system called stsyematic desensitization which we incorporate into our own program. This is a simple but powerful system that will definitely help if done right.

  11. Steph Nov 4, 2014

    Add my name to the anxiety list. I have had this fear for many years. I am 51 now & have made several emergency room visits due to my panic & anxiety. The worst happened when I was still working. (I had to retire on disability due in part to my anxiety) I was taken out of work by ambulance & spent 2 days on a heart ward hooked up to monitors. I was seen by the cardiologist of they day on daily rounds. When they finally discharged me they said they didn’t think I had a heart attack but take a baby aspirin every day. WHAT??!! I just gave you $6000 & you don’t THINK I had a heart attack. I was 39 at the time. For weeks I was afraid if someone jumped out & said boo, I was gonna drop over dead. I’ve had several “I’m gonna die” moments since then & I know my health is suffering for it. Everyday the tape in my head plays the same message… You really should go for a walk. You really should move. But…. :/

    • Steph thanks for sharing, and I truly feel your pain. dealing with ‘professionals’ can sometimes bring up more frustration than answers. But that’s why you’re here and hope you’ll join us in our growing Facebook page 🙂

  12. misabicki Nov 4, 2014

    My anxiety levels grow high. Im going to start to walk to decrease my anxiety. Getting so inside myself isn’t good. I know Im not going to die walking even with an increased heart rate. We tend to be hyper vigilant in evaluating every single health symptom. This is faulty thinking.

  13. Teresa Nov 4, 2014

    I have had exercise anxiety since 2008. I was 45 and I did have a heart attack. I have 5 stents in my heart. I am very afraid to do anything that will exert my heart. I am in the ER at least once a month for chest pain, and the doctors cannot find anything wrong. I feel totally embarrassed and disgusted with myself and have basically become a hermit in my home. I have no one to do this with me, but I am wanting to try in small increments to start walking. Wish me luck!

    • Teresa remember that luck favors the brave. By starting slow and following a certain daily ritual, not only will you be able to overcome this fear, but it will carry over to other parts of your life that you questions yourself about also.

    • Antoinette Nov 6, 2014

      I know exactly how you feel I can’t even walk up the stairs without getting scared that something will happen, have palpitations all the time, have been in the ER more times then I can count. I get a little pain and that’s it in my mind “I’m having a heart attack. I wish I had someone to talk to

  14. I have the exact same excercise fears and this has helped enormously!

  15. Becky Nov 4, 2014

    I am so glad to know that I’m not the only one going through this. I have been trying to make myself exercise on a regular basis but the racing heart & shortness of breath can freak me out. I am 41 & my dad passed away of a heart attack when he was 58. The older I get the more I’m scared I’ll have a heart attack which leads to panic attacks. I’ve had friends ask me to go on a walk & I can’t because I’m afraid it will start a panic attack & I’d be humiliated. I know I need to exercise to be healthy so I started tonight riding my exercise bike for 30 minutes. Had a couple of flutter but pushed through. This article really helped.

    • Becky I want to congratulate you on your accomplishment. You’ve proven to yourself that you can look fear in the face, and move with it in the background as you do what you deep down know will give you optimum health. Great job.

    • Hi , I’m t…. I was always healthy hard working and physically fit .. at age thirty seven one night I woke from sleep with my heart racing and thought I was having a heart attack , come to find out I had developed sleep apnea and stop breathing when I sleep… I decided to shed a few pounds and get back in the gym .. after a few months I loved the way I looked sleep apnea gone and felt great…. fast forward to 39 since then I had let myself go agin started smoking and gained the weight back .. one night I had been super stressed working drinking tons of coffee and smoking like a train , I went to sleep around 3:00 am by 3:15 I was woken with my heart beating very irregular and it sent me into my very first health anxiety attack!!! Ever since that night I I worry about getting my heart rate up, always checking my pulse rate and out of noware extreem anxiety attacks .. I’ve been to the er several times when they hook me to the EKG they hook me to machines do ultra sounds on my heart .. long story short the Dr accused me of making the EKG irregular, he said are you doing this ? It seems during my panic attack my EKG is all over the place once I calm down it goes to normal… I got on a good gym routine shortly after that working out for two years straight until I injured my bicep and had to take six months off…I felt amazing looked amazing and my anxiety was very few and far between … now my bicep is healed but my anxiety is back with a vengeance!!! Driving to work attack, lying in bed attack, eating, hanging with friends , it seems I’m pledged more and more with anxiety out of noware.. worst of all the only thing that helped cure my anxiety in the past gives me the worst case … I’ve been trying to get back on my gym routine since my injury and I’m the middle of my workout routine sure panic !!! To the point I put down the weights and leave the gym.. sure terror on my way home as if sudden death is upon me at any moment , once I get myself calmed down the heart palpitations start ….. I feel hopeless and don’t know what to do ☹️

  16. Naomi Nov 5, 2014

    Hi there, I have had Anxiety and PTSD from car accident back in 2010 in New Zealand I wS working as au pair. I was in car alone when I got hit..I then got takn to hospital in ambulance and police followed. They didn’t like my heart rythym and I got admitted to conory morning i flatlined (I died) now got heart condition- low blood pressure high heart rates, palpation’s etc..I do privete Anti Gravity yoga with best careing teacher! And soon working on medition with her. I’m out of a job as im deemed unfit to work..I bearly can drive coz I fear panic…any useful tips are welcomed!

    Thanks naomi

    • Naomi in more severe cases such as these, the end the anxiety program at is a great option. We put much time into helping each and every person who goes through the program. I’m sure you’ll be able to lessen and eventually rid yourself of this condition in the shortest time possible through the program.

  17. Thank you for writing this piece. I have been consumed with these exact thoughts and find every walk I take or every time I play tennis or chase my kids I fear I am going to have a heart attack. I’m 41, with 2 kids and a great life, in relatively good shape and have really had this come on in the last months. Finding your podcast and this site has been a God send.

  18. Andreana Jan 2, 2018

    I’m a 37 female. I suffered a stroke in cerebellum months back so I have gained about 20 lbs . So have had anxiety in the past. But since this happened to me it is more scary to exercise. Like explained above all the scary stuff that goes thru my mind especially since I had a stroke. I’m keep on exercising, trying not to worry. I happened to come across this after I exercised looking for some help. And it made alot of sense , to work on viewing exercise as helping you instead of possibly harming you. It is very scary dealing with anxiety and thoughts.

  19. Thesby Tolbert Mar 21, 2018

    Your video makes lot of great sense! It keeps a person from worring about their physical health!

  20. To pull through the cardiophobia and exercise anxiety, I began with walking, then added yoga. At first, I was super aware of my heart beat/rhythm, but as time went on, and my subconscious mind learned there’s nothing to fear, the awareness of my heartbeat entirely disappeared.

    One more thing – and this is key: I did NOT monitor my heart after my workout was done. Instead, I enjoyed the reward I promised myself 😀

  21. sahir ali Jan 10, 2019

    very healp full information.