Peloton Heart Attack Scene in 'And Just Like That' Shouldn't Deter You from CardioEven with a Past Event

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

At the end of the first episode, "Hello It's Me," Carrie Bradshaw's on-screen husband (and former on-again, off-again on-screen boyfriend), Mr. Big dies after a particularly grueling Peloton class. The cause? Seemingly, a heart attack: After getting off the bike after his workout, Big appears to have discomfort in his left arm. The pain apparently gets worse and he drops to the floor. Bradshaw finds him on the shower floor when she gets home, but it's too late—Big dies in her arms.

Peloton was quick to respond: The company's cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum, MD, released a statement to the LA Times about the TV incident: "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 6," she said (Dr. Steinbaum is referring to an incident in which Big had surgery to open a blocked artery, the Wall Street Journal reports). "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."

Can you work out if you have heart disease?

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There are loads of reasons why cardiovascular exercise specifically is good for you: It can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar, and prevent diabetes—all of which can protect you against heart disease, Sadiya Khan, MD, assistant professor of cardiology and epidemiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician, tells ishonest.

Even if you've already been diagnosed with heart disease or had a previous cardiac event, your doctor will still probably recommend that you exercise on a regular basis. "Once you have heart disease, exercise is especially important because you're at higher risk for having another problem again," says Dr. Khan. According to the National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus), exercise can make your heart muscle stronger if you have heart disease, and it can help you be more active without chest pain or other symptoms.

How can you stay safe while exercising with heart disease?

The first major tip? Start slowly. "Don't try to run a marathon if you haven't been exercising and training for it," says Dr. Khan. "Ease your way into different types of aerobic and strengthening exercises." Lighter exercise options that give your heart a workout (but not too much of a workout) include: swimming, walking, biking, or light jogging, per MedlinePlus.

Making sure you take time to warm up and cool down after a workout is important too—five minutes is a good amount of time to aim for. And you'll also want to take enough rest periods (with water!) and stop exercising immediately if you begin feeling any heart symptoms, MedlinePlus says.

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You'll also want to keep a close eye on your heart rate during exercise—and the best way to do that is to know both your resting pulse rate and a safe exercising pulse rate for your body, and to slow down if it gets too high. The AHA shares that a normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm), while a safe target heart rate zone for exercise depends on your age, and which type of exercise you're doing. (For example: Though it's unclear how old Big was, Bradshaw mentioned that she's 55 in the show. In that case, the AHA says her safe target heart rate zone for exercise is 83–140 bpm.)

When should you seek medical care during exercise with heart disease?

If you were yelling at your TV for Big or Bradshaw to call 9-1-1 when you saw him lying on the ground, you're not alone. There are some very specific signs that you should get to the emergency department or call your doctor, per MedlinePlus, whether you're exercising at the time or not:

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