Why riding an exercise bike is good for you, even after that Sex & the City character's death

After a shocking scene, the British Heart Foundation clarified whether we should avoid cardio as we get older

Man rides an exercise bike
(Image credit: Getty)

Spoiler alert! A recent episode of Sex & the City ends in the death of a character who experienced a heart attack after riding on a Peloton exercise bike. Since the episode aired last Thursday, assumptions have circulated around the fictional episode that cycling is bad for cardiovascular health - especially for older males.

Aerobic exercise is often recommended for fighting off health risks like heart disease, as it can increase circulation and blood flow in the heart, improving its function. Hence why exercise machines like the best treadmills or the best elliptical machines are so popular among older adults.

But the effects of the Sex and the City episode have been notable as Buzzfeed reported, Peleton’s sales witnessed a significant dip last week. The company’s stock’s dropped down to $40.70 at market close on Thursday, this is the equivalent of an 11.35% drop in value. 

 Is cardio bad for your health as you get older?

Nonetheless, what does the science in this area tell us? Fit&Well asked Julie Ward, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), who said, “It’s never too late to increase your physical activity or start a new sport, regardless of how little you have exercised in the past. Whatever your age, being active now will make an immediate impact on your health, reducing your risk of heart and circulatory diseases.”

Ward advises starting small and building up your exercise. Ultimately, she said that to keep your heart healthy, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week.

Although that sounds like a lot you can break this down into 10-minute sessions throughout your day if you find that more manageable. 

Small sessions completed at moderate intensity on the best exercise bike are a great way to ensure you complete the recommended amount of exercise. Also, having it in your home saves going outside when its dark to exercise or walking to the gym

You’ll also find various studies pointing towards the positive impact cycling can have on older adults’ cardiovascular health. Take this study published in the European Heart Journal, for example, which analyzed the records of over 1.1 million adults aged 60 or over to identify if there is a relationship between exercise and their risk of stroke and heart disease. 

The results revealed that participants who completed 30 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk, walking, or gardening) or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise (running, fast cycling, aerobic exercise) were less likely to experience a stroke or suffer from heart disease compared to those who got less.

Preventative cardiologist and member of the Peleton’s health and wellness advisory council, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times explaining that the character, Mr.Big, who died from the heart attack did lead an ‘extravagant lifestyle’. The many steak dinners followed by cocktails and cigars are all factors that can make someone more susceptible to heart problems. 

Steinbaum said that exercising on the Peloton bike could have actually assisted in delaying the cardiac event.

Disclaimer// If you are experiencing any health issues, it’s important that you speak with your doctor so they can recommend the type of activity that’s best for you. 

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.