Exercising while angry is not a good idea, says a study by the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. According to researchers, heavy physical exertion when one is angry or emotionally upset could trigger a heart attack. The risk of getting a heart attack is threefold when a person is angry or emotionally upset while doing physical exertion.
Dr. Andrew Smyth, the lead author of the study from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Canada, said extreme emotional and physical triggers are thought to have similar effects on the body.
“Previous studies have explored these heart attack triggers; however, they had fewer participants or were completed in one country, and data are limited from many parts of the world,” says the author. “This is the first study to represent so many regions of the world, including the majority of the world’s major ethnic groups.”
The international study involved 12,461 patients, with an average age of 58 years. During the INTERHEART study, the participants had to answer questions about any trigger during the hour before the heart attack. The research team also asked if the participants experienced the same triggers in the same hour period on the day before their heart attack.
These triggers were independent from other factors that can cause heart attack such as age, smoking, obesity or high blood pressure. Overall, the researchers determined that being angry and emotionally upset during physical exertion have similar effects on the body such as increasing heart rate, blood pressure, changing blood flow through blood vessels and decreasing blood supply to the heart.
This does not mean that the researchers advice everyone to stop exercising. Instead, they suggest avoiding physical activity when one is angry or upset. The same effect can be observed across different countries and ethnicities.