Research we're watching
If you're very upset or mad, a strenuous workout might seem like a good way to blow off steam. But that could be extra risky for your heart, according to a study in the October 2016 Circulation.
For the study, researchers surveyed nearly 12,500 people from 52 countries who had experienced a first-time heart attack. They questioned participants about their emotions and activities the hour before their heart attack symptoms began and also during the same hour on the previous day.
Anger or emotional upset was linked to more than twice the risk of having heart attack symptoms within an hour; the same was true for heavy physical exercise. But among people who recalled being angry or emotionally upset while also engaging in strenuous exercise, the risk of heart attack was three times higher.
The findings are a good reminder to try to stay calm and centered when you're coping with extreme emotions—and to avoid intense exercise during those times.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.