Riding a Peloton Give You a Heart Attack: The Truth Is?

Peloton is currently on the receiving end of some bad press. After clearing the producers of the show And Just Like That… to use a Peloton bike in a recent episode, the brand is biting back. One of the main characters starring in this Sex and the City reboot, Mr. Big, hopped onto his own Peloton bike, only to succumb to a fatal heart attack shortly thereafter.

To put it bluntly: the brand was not made privy to Mr. Big’s upcoming death before the episode made its debut. In fact, according to this statement to Buzzfeed[1], it sounds like they didn’t even know how the Peloton would be used in the episode at all.

Mr. Big’s death shocked viewers nationwide, but we’re a little more worried about some of the underlying implications of this show-stopping scene. The hot topic currently: can you die while riding a Peloton bike?

What Causes A Heart Attack?

Heart attacks have many long-term causes, habits, and tendencies that compound upon one another over the course of a lifetime. Some heart attacks are silent[3], with extremely sudden onset (often in otherwise perfectly healthy individuals). Could Mr. Big have been the victim of a silent myocardial infarction, unrelated to any other aspect of his life?

It’s certainly possible, but not likely, according to experts.

A word from Peloton’s health and wellness board[4] was included with the aforementioned press statement to Buzzfeed. Peloton spokesperson Denice Kelly and resident Peloton wellness expert Suzanne Steinbaum actually place more of the blame on Mr. Big’s lifestyle of choice – smoking, drinking, and eating opulently all likely had much more to do with his untimely demise than his very last Peloton workout.

Honestly? It might be a valuable lesson in long-term healthcare, but this claim doesn’t necessarily put us at ease. Is it possible to die while exercising in a general sense? Does riding a Peloton put you at risk in any regard?

Is Exercise Dangerous? Peloton Bikes, Sudden Death, And Exercise

Sudden death while exercising is extremely uncommon, but not entirely unheard of[5]. The article linked here does make one important point about the type of person most likely to die suddenly as a direct result of exercise: the most vulnerable to this type of sudden heart attack are those who already suffer from “overt cardiac disease” or a “high coronary risk profile.” That is, somebody already well on their way to cardiovascular failure through an unrelated issue, such as clogged arteries.

The authors of this piece also mention young people with an enlarged heart, thicker-than-average heart muscles, and vascular tissue, and other congenital, structural, and “irregular heartbeat” conditions that reduce the heart’s ability to function, even under otherwise ideal conditions. All of these factors increase a coronary risk profile.

If none of the above apply to you, we’ve got good news: you’re free to ride with confidence, risk-free. A Peloton exercise bike will do you more good than harm, but we probably didn’t have to tell you that. 

Not Exercising Increases Your Risk Of Heart Attack

As comical as it is to put things in these terms, it’s the truth. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the surest ways to end up extraordinarily unhealthy later in life. 

Couch potatoes, beware: you open the door to diabetes, cancer, and, yes, even cardiovascular dysfunction[6] when regular exercise falls by the wayside. In fact, one popular study actually argues that an inactive lifestyle might actually be more deeply detrimental[7] to your long-term health than smoking cigarettes outright.

Instead of kissing your favorite Peloton workout goodbye, we recommend the following guidelines for cardiovascular health instead:

  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke whenever possible
  • Eat well and maintain your weight
  • Avoid saturated fats in excess
  • Manage any existing health problems actively, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, respiratory dysfunction, and diabetes
  • And, of course, one of the most important recommendations of all: exercise regularly, at a challenging intensity that you can accommodate safely

Self-care is an investment. Taking care of your body today puts you in a much better position tomorrow. Coronary heart disease is far from an inevitability, and there’s plenty that you can do in order to ensure that you land on the right side of the fence. 

Exercise is actually one of the best things that you can do for your heart. Riding a Peloton bike is one great place to start if you’re trying to make a change for the better.

Is Peloton Cancelled? Can Exercise Kill You? 

Your daily Peloton ride is likely doing you more favors than harm. An exercise bike, in reality, is actually one of your most important allies when it comes to keeping your heart healthy and active. We urge you to look past the shock-jock headlines; exercise didn’t kill Mr. Big, and it certainly won’t kill you, either.

In any case, we encourage you to take this new, popular notion at face value: we live in the real world, not Hollywood, and the fear of the unknown will never be enough to stop us from getting our Peloton fix. We’ll be hopping back on ourselves this afternoon, no excuses.

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