Anger and Extreme Exercise May Trigger Heart Attack

Many people have the tendency to hit the gym or go for a run when they are mad.  We grew up hearing that exercise make us happy, that it releases endorphins and that it takes the stress away. It’s only natural and logical, especially if you are into sports, to want to exercise when you are mad.  However new studies show that you might want to wait a while for the anger to cool off before you get into extreme physical activity.  In your attempt to calm yourself through exercise, you will be tripling the risk of suffering from a heart attack up to 1 hour after.

This study was published on “Circulation”, a journal from the American Heart Association.   It is the first time that a study to determine this link has been done with such interest and dedication.  It was able to put to evidence that between the mind and the body there is a “crucial link”.   Dr. Andrew Smyth from McMaster University states that there is a similar effect on the body when are subjected to extreme emotional triggers and physical triggers.  “Both can raise blood pressure and heart rate, changing the flow of blood through blood vessels and reducing blood supply to the heart. This is particularly important in blood vessels already narrowed by plaque, which could block the flow of blood leading to a heart attack.

He goes on to add that “Regular physical activity has many health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease, so we want that to continue. However, we would recommend that a person who is angry or upset who wants to exercise to blow off steam not go beyond their normal routine to extremes of activity.”

The information was collected from 12,461 patients from 52 different countries. Taking into account risk factors such as high blood pressure, age, obesity, smoking and others, they had to complete a questionnaire where they would explain the triggers that came about within 1 hour prior to suffering from the heart attack.  The survey has them mention if they had been upset or had heavy physical activity or excretion during that period of time.  Researchers were able to find that standing alone; anger and exercise would double the risk of a heart attack. However put together, they triple the chances of the patient of suffering a heart attack.

Keep in mind though that we are all different. There are many limitations to this study. For many people, physical exertion might mean simply going up some steps as for other it may be going out for a jog. So, although the study has those gaps to fill in, it is still provides valuable information worth acknowledging.  It is very hard to get a group of people to get mad and exercise at the same time, as anger and stress are emotional states that are triggered differently for in each individual.

Nevertheless, next time you are extremely mad and feel like calming yourself through exercise, it is best to calm yourself through breathing, meditation, walking and other passive ways before intense workouts.