Identifying patients at risk is now important as there are demonstrable ways to alter disease progression which could potentially prevent atrial fibrillation (AF) and its complications. We sought whether impaired functional capacity was associated with risk of AF, independent of myocardial dysfunction. In this community-based study, asymptomatic participants aged ≥65 years were recruited if they had ≥1 risk factor (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obesity). Participants underwent baseline echocardiography (including measurement of myocardial mechanics) and six-minute walk test. The CHARGE-AF score was used to calculate 5-year risk of developing AF. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to assess for independent risk factors for AF. A total of 607 patients (age 71 ± 5 years, men 47%) were studied at baseline and followed for at least 6 months. Patients in the higher AF risk groups were older and had increased rates of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and ischemic heart disease (p <0.05). Greater AF risk was associated with lower exercise capacity, independent of lower mean global longitudinal strain, global circumferential strain, greater mean E/e' ratio, indexed left atrial volume and LV mass. Multivariate linear regression confirmed association of LV and functional capacity parameters with AF risk. Although functional capacity is impaired in AF, this association precedes the onset of AF. In conclusion, poor functional status is associated with AF risk, independent of LV function.