Fighting Fit? Exercising when you’re angry can increase the risk of heart attack
You might think that heading into the gym or going for a run while in a bad mood means a more intense workout – as you pound out your anger on the pavement/treadmill - but it’s actually a very bad idea.
A recent study has revealed the risk of heart attack can be greatly increased if you exercise while angry. The research was published in American Heart Association journal, Circulation. In the study, which was the biggest of its kind, over 12,000 people from 52 countries who had experienced heart attacks were asked about their activities and moods in the 24 hours prior to their heart attack.
It turns out that being very or angry upset can double the risk of a having a heart attack within 60 minutes – as does vigorous physical exercise. Even more shocking, the risk of heart attack was three times greater for those who had exercised and were also upset or angry in the hour leading up to their heart attack.
As the research discovered, extreme emotions have the same effect on the body as physical exertion. Both can raise blood pressure and elevate the heart rate, which in turn change the flow of blood through the body’s blood vessels and as a result can reduce blood supply to the heart. If you have a pre-existing issue, such as blood vessels narrowed by plaque, this could all lead to a heart attack.
The research has been hailed as evidence of a crucial link between body and mind, though it has long been known that stress has a real effect on the body and can impact heart health.
But aren’t we supposed to exercise? Well yes. It’s known as the exercise paradox – if you have an underlying condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, exercise is very important for your overall health, but there is also an increased chance of you having a cardiovascular episode during exercise.
It’s worth noting that the people who took part in this study had an average age of 58 and the research took other factors such as age, high blood pressure, health problems and smoking into account. So while most people can exercise without negative effects, save for sore muscles the next day, it’s worth being cautious if you do have underlying conditions.
Exercise is essential for a healthy life but perhaps try work on dealing with extreme emotions through mindfulness too, rather than just the workout mat.
Written by Best Ever Me Writer, Brenda McCormick