Hi all, looking for some help to gauge how much exercise is safe. I was diagnosed just about a week ago. I have always been very active. I play a lot of softball, biking, working out since I was 15. I had not always eaten very good and was overweight but in shape. I had started P90x before all this and had lost about 25 pounds, with about 20 to go before I was in tremendous shape. I felt great, lots of flexability, strength and my cardio was way up. Needless to say I am extreemly frustrated this all must stop. My symptoms were very mild and the AVM small (10mm) I had no surgery. I know i cant start up again soon. But is there any hope. Maybe alter the workout and not push too hard? I really liked all aspects of the workout, yoga and stretching, cardio, kickboxing, weightlifting, plyometrics.

I have read thru many of your stories and it made me feel blessed that my situation was not worse. I know I need to listen to my doctors. I have a follow up in MRI scheduled in 3 weeks and will consult surgeons then.

Any advise anyone has about surgery, exercise, etc. would be greatly appreciated.


I know how you feel. I went from a full time ER RN , working out, hiking, raising my two boys to having surgery and my energy has never been the same since! I struggle daily and have to take breaks often. Have you asked your Neuro or Neurosurgeon if it's ok to continue. I say if you are feeling ok keep exercising but don't over due it with the straining or weight lifting. When you strain in anyway it raises intracranial pressure. Just take it easy, and keep attitude positive. I hope this helps. Good luck with this all, and emmail me anytime.

Thanks for the response. I should have mentioned my symptoms are very mild compared to what I see on here from many people. I actually seem to feel better when I exercise. I will be making the decision about surgery in a few weeks. My neurologist thinks i will probably not have surgery but scheduled my follow up with the neurosurgeons any way to give me options and other opinions. It seems like everyone on here who has surgery has severe side effects.

Just make sure to take it easy, the brain stem is a very high risk area and a small bleed there can be catastrophic! SOrry don't mean to scare you but just reallly take it easy for now until things settle down. I know how hard it is to take it easy I still struggle with that. Hang in there!

Hi Bill,
Welcome to the group. You will find the most incredible people here - supportive and knowledgeable.
For what it is worth, this is my experience with exercise: I have found that I had to severely cut back on running, which is still my primary form of exercise. This was due to the fact that strenuous running brought on seizures. So it was literally a “no brainer” for me to cut back. The other consideration when cutting back on running is that I am still recovering from brain surgery.
Keep posting on the CM board. Let us know how it is going as you experiment on what your brain allows your body to do.

Hi Bill!

Hmm... understanding the benefits associated with exercise, I can understand your frustration. Exercise is great but ask your doctor (or all your doctors) what is safe. From my experience it is not the execrcise that is harmful, it's just exercising too much combined with the focus on weight loss that is harmful. Remember you had an AVM found in your brain and it bled as well. While, I know it's nothing but frustrating, try to listen to your body when you make choices like that.

I know I didn't give you any advice on changing your workout (although I did personal training for awhile), I think this message is a bit more important. While I'm definitely no doctor and I don't know all the circumstances of your AVM, if you can do it, I highly recommend surgery to obliterate the AVM. Any remaining AVM can always produce problems. But again, even with this perspective, listen to your doctors because every AVM is different and has different treatment options. Best of luck on this journey and remember everyone on this site is here for you no matter what you decide. :J

Hi Bill,

Just like everyone else has said go with what your doctors are says. I did a sports degree in college and the only advice I was give by my doctors in relation to my AVM was not to lift weights over my head as this will increase pressure. I apply this to everything, in aqua aerobic class not doing the arm activities over head, in circuit class same thing and the one I struggle with most not lifting my surf board on my head as my arm are too short to carry it! Other than that I have participated in so many sports and even fought at national level in judo for years. I work out in the gym but again watching what weights I do. Swimming is a great as its no pressure, works on cardio and so many muscles.

Every one is different so your doctor would be the best person for advice but I hope this gives you hope that you may be able to exercise as always some day. All right sun is out which is rare in Ireland so I’m off to the beach for a surf.
Take care,

Hi Bill,
Personally, I think moderation would be the key & not straining or overdoing it, but as others have encouraged, it's best to check w/ your drs. first on what they feel is safe for you to do. :)

good day maam, can i ask you something, i have also a avm on my brain, im gonna ask you if i can still do workouts, because im doing gym before, and when i discover that i have this, i stop, but im continuing my workout here at home, but im only doing bodyweight training, do i need to stop it also? even if i can still do it? there's nothing i feel pain, thankyou

I've had 4 rounds of Gamma Knife radiation for my AVM, and it still isn't gone. I had a craniotomy to clip 2 aneurysms a month after the first GK treatment.

I had been in the dance studio 2-3 times a week prior to surgery and was part of a Middle Eastern dance troupe.

My neurosurgeon told me I could continue to dance as much as I wanted. (I just can't SCUBA until the AVM is gone).

I was actually back in the dance studio 4 weeks after the craniotomy. I was exhausted, but I made it through the class. I also was in the studio 3 days after my most recent angiogram/Gamma Knife day. I did have to modify some of the movements that day.

It has been almost 5 years. I still don't have the energy I had before surgery. During the summer, I'm better about getting back into the studio. During the school year (I'm a teacher), I have more trouble getting myself motivated to make the 40 mile drive into Houston, take an hour long class, then drive 40 miles home...and get up the next morning to be at school at 7:00 a.m.

Hi Bill, like yourself I was very active in the gym 3 days a week prior to my bleed on heavy weights and also use to do boxing and martial arts…was told after surgery I could do everything as normal but to do it in moderation considering the circumstances besides intentionally constantly getting hits to the head which ruled out boxing…to date I haven’t done any after 5yrs as I don’t wish to risk anything out of fear…but that is my own doing and I have been cleared…

In conclusion I would say go and do everything as normal but be more cautious of the AVM factor… God bless!

Hellow air, what do you think, can i do some push ups and pull ups? Because i use to go to the gym before but when i discover this i use to stop, but im doing home body workouts, do i should stop it also? Thanku

Confused, I know you’re looking for answers, but this is something only your doctor can tell you. Please ask your doc, as everyone is unique in their exercise capacity…

my doctor says that i should stop, but i don't experiencing anything, that's why im confuse. by the way thankyou tim for the message

I would recommend on limiting the amount of heavy lifting and straining and would take it easy on the cardio also, But that's just me and from my point of view I look at it like, A Bleed is MUCH worse than just having the AVM and having symptoms etc, A bleed is worse usually than the treatment options also. So I would try to minimise the risk of the bleed until you have all the information needed by a medical professional to advise you properly :) , Hope this helps a little.


You’re welcome. I never felt a thing, either, until my AVM bled out of the blue. I had a life changing stroke as a result. I wish nothing but the best for you, confused, so please follow your doc’s advice. Take care…

If you still have the AVM in your head then stay away from doing anything that would make your blood pressure go up. While you’re exercising you’re bringing your blood pressure up at the moment which increases your risk of the AVM bleeding. Also stress raises your blood pressure. The way you can tell that your blood pressure is up is if you start to feel a headache. If you feel a headache sit down & slow down your breathing to make yourself calm down.
I had to stop & take a lot of these breathing breaks when I was in school because something as simple as walking up a flight of stairs would give me a headache because it was “strenuous” Activity.
You really have to be careful if it’s still in your brain. Tell your doctor of anything abnormal with your head.

My doctors told me that they encourage mild exercise and told me to continue what I was doing (mild running, swimming). They did advice me to be cautious about my blood pressure and keep it under control. I think it's always best to avoid any strenous workout though.

Before my hemorrhage I was a performing dancer who also took martial arts; I went right back to it as soon as I was out of the hospital; my neurosurgeon said it was fine for me to resume my former workouts once I had gotten past the paresis which occurred as a result of a catastrophic bleed that happened during surgery.

The only thing my doctor said was a no no was getting hit in the head, since after a craniotomy, the skull loses its structural integrity.

Check with your doctor, and be prepared to be patient with your body. I used yoga, Pilates, and dance as part of my PT to work through the paresis.

Hi Bill!!

You've gotten lots of great suggestions already so I'll just add my 2 cents' worth. My AVM (right parietal lobe) was found after a pretty good-sized hemorrhage. The AVM itself was quite small, but the Neurologist I saw afterwards told me under no circumstances to strain (even to the extent of going to the bathroom). The thing I was told about small AVMs is they are far more likely to re-bleed. (This was over 13 years ago, btw.)

I'm not sure from your note if you had a bleed or it was discovered in another way, but I would avoid exercise until you have a chance to talk to your doctors first.

Wishing you the best and I too hope you'll come back and keep us posted on how you are doing!!