Hearts Pound for Heart Month

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This weekend, I rode my bike in the mall. No, not to the mall—in the mall.

It sounds a little crazy, but picture dozens of cyclists clad in brightly colored jerseys, sitting astride carbon fiber frames set up on stationary trainers, and pedaling as hard as they can in the center court of Boise Towne Square. Not only did we provide a little unusual entertainment for shoppers and mall rats, we also raised money for a good cause.

Because February is officially Heart Month, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, along with Life Flight Network, Idaho Mountain Touring and several other major sponsors, hosted the seventh-annual Inside Ride in support of cardiac health services at Saint Al's.

Elite and recreational four-member teams took turns spinning their wheels for up to 60 minutes at a time. During the sweat sessions, participants received prizes from random drawings, as well as prizes for covering the most miles during the hourlong ride. After logging 23.3 miles, I was drenched in perspiration and totally wiped out—that was without any wind resistance or hills.

Although it was a fantastic workout and undoubtedly good for my cardiac health, I couldn't help but smile at the irony. Not long ago, I read a blog posting on MSNBC.com that suggested indoor cycling classes (also known as "spinning" classes) generate the same spike in cardiac enzymes as occurs during a heart attack. Kind of makes you wonder whether simply walking a few laps around the mall might have been a better activity for Heart Month.