Skip to Content

Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Exercise

Topic Overview

If you have mild to moderate mitral valve regurgitation (MR) and do not have symptoms, you likely do not have to limit your physical activity.

If you do have symptoms or if you have irregular heart rhythms or changes in your heart size or function, you may need to be cautious about physical activity. But regular activity, even low-level activity such as walking, will help keep your heart healthy. If you want to start being more active, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will help you create a safe exercise plan.

If you have questions or concerns about what physical activities are appropriate for you, talk to your doctor. Even with MR, you may be able to develop an exercise plan that suits your lifestyle.

If you have severe MR, you may need to limit your physical activity.

  • If you have mild to moderate regurgitation and normal heart function, you can participate in normal physical activity.
  • If you have mild to moderate regurgitation and reduced heart function, ask your doctor what level and type of activity is safe for you. You might be able to exercise at low or moderate aerobic levels such as walking or swimming.

You may need to avoid isometric exercise, which is exercise that uses muscle contraction to strengthen and tone your muscles. Isometric exercise usually involves pushing against resistance, as in weight lifting. These types of exercises can elevate your blood pressure, thereby increasing the force against which your heart must pump blood. As a rule, avoid activities that involve sudden physical exertion at a level that is significantly greater than that required for your normal activities.

Related Information


Other Works Consulted

  • Bonow RO, et al. (2015). Eligibility and disqualification recommendations for competitive athletes with cardiovascular abnormalities: Task Force 5: Valvular Heart Disease: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. Circulation, 132(22): e292-e297. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000241. Accessed April 7, 2017.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMichael P. Pignone, MD, MPH, FACP - Internal Medicine

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Health Library