I haven't ridden since last December when the sports ortho doc ordered me off the bike until my shoulder healed, then later my elbow (both still haven't shown any improvement but that's another story). Then came a cold, then Shingles, and now another cold. Now I'm hoping I'll be able to ride again by the end of the year.
Anyway, I realized last week that I haven't noticed any palpitations (the doctor called them PACs -- Premature Atrial Contractions) while I have not been riding since December. I have walked on the treadmill, used the eliptical, and done a few easy spins at the gym -- but nothing long (multi-hour) or very strenuous (fast/hilly) like the bike rides I was doing last year.
This makes me wonder if the PACs were related to over-exertion while riding. I seemed to recover well after the big rides. I didn't notice them while riding but at odd times of the day -- at work, at rest, any other time. After a stress echocardiogram, the cardio doctor said they're benign and I "have the heart sounds of a teenager!" <--- (the look on his face) He praised my physical condition ("I wish more people did what you do") and didn't give any warnings to slow down or take it easier on the rides. Oh -- on certain rides after completing a steep climb I noticed my heart rate was around 180. Some of the older and more experienced/stronger riders were shocked it was that high and seemed very concerned. However, my HR recovered very quickly and my performance seemed otherwise OK.
It's nice not feeling those scary palpitations, but I'm wondering if they were a sign of over-exertion, and an ominous indication that something is lying in wait to get me on that first big hill climb after I return to cycling.
I'm wondering if there's anyone here with a history of PACs who can share any experience or consequences from continuing to ride hard, or if you received any advice that conflicts with what my doctor said. I have a slow pulse (always have, whether fit or not), same as my dad who developed A-fib later in life.