Spin classes like Peloton are good for heart health, experts say
- Warning: spoilers for the upcoming “Sex and the City” “And Just Like That” premiere.
- Spin classes can help improve cardiovascular fitness by increasing your heart rate and improving your health.
- The spin is safe for most people, experts say, and calming yourself down can reduce rare risks.
The long-awaited reboot of “Sex and the City” features a surprising spin-related heart attack when it premieres on December 9. However, there is no reason to fear cycling, cardiologists say, as the benefits of spin more than outweigh the rare risks.
The first episode of “And Just Like That” reintroduces the main characters of “Sex and the City” with an updated twist: Mr. Big (Chris Noth), husband of series protagonist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) , is now a Peloton superfan. Big ends his 1,000th class with the hugely popular home practice brand (featuring an appearance by Peloton instructor Jess King).
Immediately after his spin session, Big suffers a fatal heart attack. However, her untimely demise was more related to her lifestyle than to her rotating habits, according to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a member of the Peloton’s Advisory Board on Health and Wellness.
“Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle – including cocktails, cigars and big steaks – and was in grave danger because he had already had a cardiac event in Season 6. These fashion choices life and perhaps even his family history, which is often a significant factor, was the likely cause of his death, ”Steinbaum told Insider. “Riding his Peloton bike may even have helped delay his cardiac event. “
Experts say that while extreme exercise can be harmful in rare cases, cardio will improve heart health for most of us, not make it worse.
Spin sessions increase your heart rate – but that’s a good thing
Spin classes can improve your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your lower body without putting stress on your joints like running or other exercise.
“Cycling is a great low-impact way to get an aerobic workout,” Alexis Colvin, MD, orthopedic sports medicine surgeon in Mount Sinai, told Insider. “Cycling also helps build leg muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings and calves.”
Getting your heart pounding on the bike counts as aerobic activity, which the American Heart Association recommends that all of us do at least 150 minutes per week.
Spinning is not without risk, but serious health complications are rare
In rare cases, excessive exercise can be a problem, especially for people with pre-existing health conditions. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a very small percentage of people may experience arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat as a result of intense workouts.
A small study found that a long, hard spinning course can trigger chemicals similar in your body to a heart attack. However, this is not necessarily of concern and the body generally recovers quickly, the researchers said.
“We have no reason to believe these levels suggest actual damage to the heart,” study author Smita DuttaRoy told NBC News.
Spin classes have also been linked to rhabdomyolysis, a rare and serious side effect of intense exercise, Insider reported previously.
Minor side effects of spinning can include lower back pain if your posture deteriorates during commutes, experts have previously told Insider.
The benefits of cycling (and other exercises) for cardio outweigh the risks
The bottom line is that like all forms of physical activity, spinning can be risky, but it’s always a good idea to get active. Pace yourself and stick to moderate exercise, or switch to more intensity if that’s your thing, according to Harvard Health.
Being sedentary is even riskier, according to the evidence. Lack of exercise is a factor in up to 35% of deaths from coronary heart disease, according to research.
The benefits of training are many, including more energy, less risk of disease, and better mental health.
If you are concerned about specific health risks or injuries from exercise, always ask your doctor.