Is Peloton a 'Big' Problem For Heart Health? (2022)

Key Takeways

  • People have questions about exercise and heart attacks after Mr. Big died on "And Just Like That" after a Peloton workout.
  • Experts say this scenario is possible in real life.
  • However, exercise is generally considered good for the heart.

The "Sex and the City" reboot, "And Just Like That," dropped on Thursday and, with it, there are a lot of questions about a pivotal scene that happens early in the new series.

In it, Carrie Bradshaw’s husband John Preston (also known as Mr. Big) has a heart attack after a vigorous class on his Peloton bike. (Peloton isn’t named in the show, but it’s clear what he’s riding.) Mr. Big had experience with riding his bike—he told Carrie at one point that this was his thousandth class—but he also had a history of heart issues. In season six of "Sex and the City," he had a “routine” heart operation.

Aerobic Exercise Is Beneficial After a Heart Attack up to a Point

The tragic scene has led some people to question whether Mr. Big’s death was caused by exercise, and it was also addressed in the show. While getting ready for Big’s funeral, Steve Brady questions his wife, Miranda Hobbs, on whether Big should have even been on “that bike.”

"He was on that bike for over a thousand rides," Miranda said. "He got the OK from his cardiologist. Exercise is good for the heart."

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack (which is also called a myocardial infarction) happens when a part of the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood. If there is no proper treatment to restore blood flow, the heart muscle can be damaged. Coronary artery disease, which is caused by plaque buildup in the wall of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, is the main cause of heart attack. However, heart attacks can be caused by a severe spasm or contraction of a coronary artery that stops blood flow to the heart muscle.

Peloton has already spoken out about the scene. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist who is on Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, told the Los Angeles Times that Big’s death was likely due to his “extravagant lifestyle.”

“I’m sure SATC fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack,” Steinbaum said. “Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle—including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks—and was at serious risk, as he had a previous cardiac event in season six. These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”

(Video) Cycling & Peloton After my Heart Attack at Age 42

Steinbaum continued, “The lesson here is,KNOWYOUR NUMBERS! It's always important to talk to your doctor, get tested, and have a healthy prevention strategy. The good news is Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.”

Peloton released an ad on Sunday in response to the scene. In it, Chris Noth, who plays Mr. Big, is sitting by a fire with Peloton instructor Jess King, who plays Big’s favorite cycling instructor Allegra in the show. “I feel great,” Noth says in the ad. “Should we take another ride? Life’s too short not to.”

Then, Reynolds chimes in with a voiceover that said, “And just like that, the world was reminded thatregular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse, and reduces blood fat levels. He’s alive.”

Still questions keep circulating on social media. Is it safe to exercise when you have a heart condition? And can something like this happen in real life? Here’s what you need to know.

Can This Happen in Real Life?

Unfortunately, yes, it’s possible to die of a heart attack while exercising.

“Exercise increases the heart's demand for oxygen,” Jason P. Womack, MD, chief of the division of sports medicine and associate professor in the department of family medicine and community health at the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told Verywell. “While this is beneficial in most people, anyone with underlying cardiovascular disease may stress the heart beyond its capacity which can lead to heart-related death.”

But, “even though this situation happens every so often, the exact mechanism by which it occurs is not really well understood,” Rigved Tadwalkar, MD, a board-certified cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California, told Verywell.

It could be due to increased stress on the walls of the arteries, spasms in the arteries, or disruption of plaque that lines the walls of the arteries, he said.

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“In the grand scheme of things, it’s fairly rare, but it’s more likely to happen in somebody who has a known history of heart disease or risk factors for heart disease,” Tadwalkar said.

Womack noted that “men have a higher risk of heart disease compared to women and this increases as they get older.”

Mr. Big’s lifestyle choices, like smoking cigars, also wouldn’t help. “Tobacco use increases risk, as does elevated levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure,” Womack said.

And, Big's previous heart issues “shows that there is an underlying cardiovascular disease that would increase your risk of another event.”

What This Means For You

If you have a history of heart disease or heart-related issues, talk to a healthcare provider about how exercise can fit into your healthy lifestyle.

Is It Safe to Exercise if You Have Heart Issues?

Whether it's safe to exercise with preexisting heart issues depends on the person.

“For anyone with a history of heart issues or history of a heart attack, they should exercise under the supervision of their physicians,” Womack said. “There is testing that can be done to demonstrate what is a safe level of exertion for their heart.”

In general, weight training is considered safe and has a low risk of causing heart-related problems, Womack said, provided the weight you're lifting isn’t “excessively heavy.”

How well your heart disease is managed or where you are in your treatment course matters, too.

“Generally speaking, if a patient’s treatment is well managed, people can exercise safely,” Tadwalkar says. “We encourage people to get out there and be the best version of themselves, and exercise usually plays a role in that.”

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(Video) The Minimum Cardio Needed For A Healthy Heart & Lungs

Some people may need to modify their exercises but that “depends on testing,” Womack said. “Exercise stress tests can help to determine at what level a person can exercise safely,” he added.

If you've had a heart attack or other cardiovascular issue, your doctor will likely want to monitor you for a bit, Jennifer Haythe, MD, co-director of the Women's Center for Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, tells Verywell Health. "Most people should undergo supervised cardiac rehab after a heart attack and your doctor will set guidelines on what is appropriate," she says.

One big caveat, Tadwalkar said, is with certain forms of congenital heart disease. “Some people with hereditary syndromes are more prone to changes in rhythm,” he explained. In those situations, exercise may not be recommended or may only be recommended on a mild level.

“Your best bet is to speak with your cardiologist or physician if you’re concerned,” Tadwalkar said.

Thanks for your feedback!

(Video) Exercise however you see fit | Doctors explain why exercise bikes are safe

What are your concerns?

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FAQs

Is Peloton good for heart health? ›

An exercise bike session can spike your heart rate — but that's a good thing. Exercise bike classes can improve your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your lower body without putting stress on your joints the way running or other exercise might.

Can exercise bikes cause heart problems? ›

Yes, exercise can raise the risk of a heart attack.

“Any sort of stressful event on your body can increase your heart rate, increase pressure in the arteries, and cause a plaque there to crack open and have a clot form on top of it.

How does cycling affect your heart? ›

Just as it strengthens your arms, legs and other muscles, cycling can help to strengthen your heart muscle. The stronger your heart, the more effectively it pumps blood through your body, which lowers your heart rate and reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

Is riding a bike good for the heart? ›

Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels.

Is riding Peloton everyday OK? ›

There are no problems in doing peloton every day, as long as you choose the low-intensity and short-duration class. Classes with high intensity and high duration often lead to muscle pain.

Is spinning good for your heart? ›

Spinning is a great cardiovascular workout and can help build lower-body muscle strength,” says Greg Robidoux, a physical therapist with the Cycling Medicine Program at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.

Is Peloton good for blood pressure? ›

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is wildly popular among Peloton Members and for good reason: Alternating harder bursts of exercise (pushing so hard that you get breathless) with periods of recovery is great for strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure.

How much cardio should I do a day for heart health? ›

How much: Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the kind that doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.

Is a stationary bike good for heart health? ›

Riding a stationary exercise bike is an efficient and effective way to burn calories and body fat while strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles. Compared to some other types of cardio equipment, a stationary bicycle puts less stress on your joints, but it still provides an excellent aerobic workout.

Is cycling hard on your heart? ›

Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases,” he added. Persistently elevated levels of blood pressure have the potential to damage the blood vessels which causes heart attacks.

Which is better for heart walking or cycling? ›

Cycling is more efficient than walking, so you'll probably work harder by walking briskly and probably exercise your heart, lungs and major muscles more. On the other hand, cycling is probably less hard on your hips, knees and ankles than walking.

Which is best exercise cycling or walking? ›

Cycling burns more calories

Cycling at a moderate speed of 20 km/h (12 mph) burns approximately 563 kcal per hour. And the difference is even bigger when we increase the intensity. A fast walking speed of 6.5 km/h (4 mph) burns 352 kcal per hour, while a fast cycling speed of 30 km/h (19 mph) burns 844 kcal per hour.

Is 30 minutes of cycling a day enough? ›

Cycling increases your endurance on and off the bike

Exercising on the bike for at least 30 minutes a day will build up your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. By putting in consistent effort, you'll notice an improvement in your aerobic capacity, enabling you to bike longer or on more intense rides.

What is a good cycling heart rate? ›

A 30-year-old cyclist has a maximum heart rate of 190 beats per minute, and thus an average heart rate between 95 and 133 beats per minute when cycling at a moderate pace. At a vigorous pace, the same person's heart rate is between 133 and 162 beats per minute.

Can you cycle with heart failure? ›

Conclusion: When matched for external workload, ECC cycling can be performed with a lower oxygen demand than CON in patients with CHF. Eccentric cycling is a promising modality for cardiac rehabilitation in severely deconditioned patients with CHF.

How long should I ride peloton each day? ›

When just starting out, committing to exercising at all can feel impossible, let alone exercising for 30 or 60 minutes every day. That's why Peloton Members agree that starting with 15- and 20-minute rides is the best way to form a daily habit.

How many times a week should I ride my peloton? ›

“The secret here is to ride the Peloton each day or at least 4 times per week. Never skip more than a day!” It's also important to make sure that your workouts are long enough, or else you may have trouble achieving your weight loss goals.

Is peloton actually a good workout? ›

This is how and why it really works in your workout routine. Riding your Peloton bike or tread is a great way to get a heart-pumping workout. Not only can regular cardio sessions make you healthy and strong; they're also a fantastic way to relieve stress during hectic times.

Can spinning damage your knees? ›

Knee pain from indoor cycling is quite common. "It's usually a setup problem," says Karp. "Either your knees are bending too much, or you're too far forward or back." This can cause you to rely too heavily on your quads, which over time could overload your knees, and not enough on your glutes and hamstrings.

Can I do spin with high blood pressure? ›

Aerobic exercise, such as cycling and running, can reduce your blood pressure up to 10 mmHg, Creswell says. That's about as much as some medications. Strength training can also help reduce it by about 3 to 6 mmHg, he says. And it's never too late to make a measurable difference.

How much is too much spinning? ›

The danger is when you go overboard, spinning five to seven days a week and taking back-to-back classes. "Unfortunately people can get injuries from their head down to their toes because you use your whole body in spinning," said Dr. Swedan.

Does Peloton tone your body? ›

Peloton Results: How Your Body Will Change in 1 Month - YouTube

What does a peloton bike do for your body? ›

As a whole, Peloton works on your quads, hamstrings, glutes, back, chest, and core muscles, as well as your arms and shoulders. The peloton is great way for full body workouts and does build muscle because it forces you to use more resistance than you would on a regular bike.

What is the best exercise for high blood pressure? ›

Some examples of aerobic exercise that can help lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Another possibility is high-intensity interval training. This type of training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with periods of lighter activity.

Can too much cardio damage your heart? ›

Moreover, research found evidence that high intensity exercise can acutely increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death in individuals with underlying cardiac disease.

Can you strengthen a weak heart? ›

"If you have heart failure, exercise training can improve your health status, increase your ability to exercise and reverse patterns of muscle damage that are common in heart failure," said Axel Linke, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author on both studies.

How do I know if my heart is OK? ›

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. The ECG reflects what's happening in different areas of the heart and helps identify any problems with the rhythm or rate of your heart. The ECG is painless and takes around 5-10 minutes to perform.

How long should a senior ride a stationary bike? ›

To notice health advantages, ride the bike three to five days a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes once you have received medical clearance. Maintain a steady pace by cycling. Always pay attention to your body and stop exercising if you feel any discomfort.

What exercises should be avoided with high blood pressure? ›

If you have high blood pressure, you should avoid physical activity that requires sudden bursts of activity or strain as these may increase the risk of arterial rupture, heart attack, or stroke. Activities to avoid include weight lifting, playing squash, and sprinting, as well as skydiving and SCUBA diving.

Is it OK to ride exercise bike every day? ›

Cycling every day is a great way to lose weight and body fat if those are your fitness goals. High-intensity but low-impact, cycling provides all the benefits of HIIT without taxing your joints.

How much cycling is too much? ›

There's no magic number to set for how much biking is too much in a day. For some, biking 20 miles a day is healthy, but for others biking 5 miles a day may be too much for them. You need to listen to your body and if you notice any signs of overtraining, then you know that you're biking too much.

How do I keep my heart rate low while cycling? ›

Ideas on how to recover when your heart rate gets too high. - YouTube

Is cycling good for heart and lungs? ›

Health Benefits of cycling

This aerobic activity makes you breathe deeper, perspire, and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level. This activity keeps your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and other major organs healthy and strong.

How many miles on a stationary bike equals 10000 steps? ›

According to method #2, 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles.

Does biking burn belly fat? ›

Yes, cycling can help lose belly fat, but it will take time. A recent study showed regular cycling may enhance overall fat loss and promote a healthy weight. To reduce overall belly girth, moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, such as cycling (either indoor or outdoor), are effective to lower belly fat.

Does cycling reduce belly fat? ›

Does cycling burn fat? Yes. Although your stomach muscles aren't working as hard as your quads or glutes when you're riding, but cycling's aerobic nature means you are burning fat.

Does cycling affect knees? ›

Whether you ride competitively, commute daily, or just exercise occasionally, if you aren't careful, you can cause permanent damage to your knees. If you have pain anywhere around the knee area, you could end up with severe knee damage in the end.

Is 3 miles on a stationary bike the same as walking 3 miles? ›

Most fitness experts who have calculated calorie burn for both exercises base their numbers on time spent rather than distance traveled. In several studies conducted by reputable scientists, it was determined that, under equal conditions, bike riding was at least equal to walking.

Is cycling good for older people? ›

Among these activities, bicycling has gained popularity among the elderly patients. Benefits include strengthening muscle groups used in maintaining balance and strength (ie, quadriceps), enjoyment, autonomy, and improved cardiovascular function.

What is a good Peloton output for 30 minutes? ›

For most riders, their average Peloton Output for a 30-minute session sits between 180 and 250W. However, you will have a much higher Peloton Output if you join a more intense class, such as a high-intensity interval training session. A good Total Peloton Output for 30 minutes is between 300-480kJ.

Is Peloton better than running? ›

Converting three years of all workout types to calories burned per hour, the Peloton cycle is clearly the best form of cardio for me, both in motivation and results: the Peloton cycle beat running by 15% (815 calories/hr vs. 706 calories/hr from my running days).

Is cycling 3 times a week enough? ›

To keep progressing and improving your fitness, you ideally need to be riding your bike every two to three days, even if it's just a short turbo trainer workout. The minimum you can get away with and still see significant fitness gains is three rides a week.

What is a dangerously high heart rate during exercise? ›

So, more than 200 beats per minute heart rate during exercise is dangerous for you. If you develop palpitations, an irregular heart rate, shortness of breath, or chest pain, you need to seek medical help right away.

Will my heart rate decrease as I get fitter? ›

The more fit you are, the lower your resting heart rate; for very fit people, it's in the range of 40 to 50 beats per minute.

What is considered a dangerously high heart rate? ›

Abnormal Heart Rates or Heart Beats reflect the cardiac conditions of the body. If unnoticed and untreated, this can sometimes be fatal. Conditions when the heartbeat goes beyond 120-140 beats per minute or falls below 60 beats per minute, can be considered dangerous, and immediate doctor's intervention is a must.

Is it safe to exercise with a heart condition? ›

Getting regular exercise when you have heart disease is important. Exercise can make your heart muscle stronger. It may also help you be more active without chest pain or other symptoms. Exercise may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.

What exercise can I do with heart failure? ›

Choose an aerobic activity that you enjoy such as walking (outside or on a treadmill), stationary cycling, swimming, and rowing or water aerobics. Ask your doctor before lifting weights. Exercise should be done regularly to gain the benefits; national guidelines suggest most days of the week if not everyday.

What should you not do with heart failure? ›

Avoid cured and processed meats, which are high in sodium. Burgers and steaks, even unseasoned, present their own problem: they're high in the types of fat that can lead to clogged arteries. Instead, aim to eat more fish than red meat, especially salmon, tuna, trout, and cod.

Is Peloton good for blood pressure? ›

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is wildly popular among Peloton Members and for good reason: Alternating harder bursts of exercise (pushing so hard that you get breathless) with periods of recovery is great for strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure.

Is a stationary bike good for heart health? ›

Riding a stationary exercise bike is an efficient and effective way to burn calories and body fat while strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles. Compared to some other types of cardio equipment, a stationary bicycle puts less stress on your joints, but it still provides an excellent aerobic workout.

Is Peloton considered cardio? ›

What Type of Workout is the Peloton? A Peloton workout is a cardio workout ranging anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes long. To vary the workouts, the instructors manipulate cadence and resistance to mimic hill climbs and sprints. Some workouts also involve the 5-pound dumbbells attached to the seat of your bike.

What does the Peloton do for your body? ›

Indoor cycling can improve your overall physical fitness by building strength and cardiovascular endurance. Classes can also help boost your mood and provide you with a healthy, enjoyable activity.

Is it OK to ride a bike with high blood pressure? ›

Because, other than being good for your lungs, joints, muscles, and veins, research suggests using a bicycle for moderate, and consistent exercise also helps lower blood pressure. And, that's most certainly good for your heart.

Will Peloton get me in shape? ›

Peloton is a great fitness-at-home solution not only for the spinning enthusiast but also for everyone who wants to get fit and is looking for a great strength training workout.

What is the best exercise for high blood pressure? ›

Some examples of aerobic exercise that can help lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Another possibility is high-intensity interval training. This type of training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with periods of lighter activity.

Is stationary bike as good as walking? ›

Stationary cycling will result in the same benefits as walking, with the added bonus that it puts less pressure on your joints than other weight-bearing activities such as walking.

Is riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes good exercise? ›

Exercising on the bike for at least 30 minutes a day will build up your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. By putting in consistent effort, you'll notice an improvement in your aerobic capacity, enabling you to bike longer or on more intense rides.

How long should a senior ride a stationary bike? ›

To notice health advantages, ride the bike three to five days a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes once you have received medical clearance. Maintain a steady pace by cycling. Always pay attention to your body and stop exercising if you feel any discomfort.

Is Peloton or running better? ›

While routine running can help you lose weight and prevent obesity, research shows that you may be able to burn more calories spinning versus running. In fact, an especially high-impact Spinning class can expend up to 1,000 calories over the course of 60 minutes. In a Spinning class, core muscles can also be developed.

Does Peloton tone your legs? ›

Peloton works on the leg muscles by providing a resistance that the rider must pedal against. This resistance can be increased or decreased, depending on the rider's preference. By pedaling against this resistance, the rider is able to tone and strengthen their leg muscles.

How often should I ride Peloton to lose weight? ›

Peloton classes attendance

You'll be amazed at how quickly you can lose weight when you do. It's recommended that you bike for at least 20 minutes every day. That's only about 20 minutes of your schedule, so it's easy to fit into your overall recumbent plan.

What are the disadvantages of indoor cycling? ›

What are the Disadvantages of Indoor Cycling? One of the most significant disadvantages of indoor cycling is that it can get repetitive and tedious, especially if you're exercising in your house. Outdoors there are differences in the terrain. You can look at the scenery, and no two rides are the same.

How often should you ride Peloton? ›

“The secret here is to ride the Peloton each day or at least 4 times per week. Never skip more than a day!” It's also important to make sure that your workouts are long enough, or else you may have trouble achieving your weight loss goals.

How much is too much spinning? ›

The danger is when you go overboard, spinning five to seven days a week and taking back-to-back classes. "Unfortunately people can get injuries from their head down to their toes because you use your whole body in spinning," said Dr. Swedan.

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