A new study shows that people who workout while angry or stressed are more vulnerable to suffer a heart attack. Emotional stress and exercise as separate factors are dangerous to the heart, but when combined, they threefold the risks of having a heart attack within an hour.

People tend to train more and increase the intensity of their routine when angry, which makes them more vulnerable to suffer a heart attack. The study was published Monday in the journal Circulation and used data from more than 12,000 patients. Regular exercise is good for physical health, and the heart is no exception. Training regularly can help prevent heart disease. The problem comes when physical activity is combined with emotional stress.

Training when angry might increase chances of developing a heart attack. Image credit: Men’s Health.

Exercise + angriness = Higher risk for heart attack

Dr. Andrew Smyth, the lead author of the study and researcher at the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Ireland, stated he would not recommend someone who is angry or upset to release their feelings and frustrations extending or intensifying their exercise routine.

The study used data from the INTERHEART research, which includes 12,500 patients from 52 countries. Participants had had a heart attack, and the study sought to identify the factors that cause the disease. Other conditions were considered as part of the reasons for the participant’s first heart attack, such as smoking, obesity, and health problems.

Researchers asked all members of the study about their activities and habits and focused on those that the patients thought caused their heart attack. Scientists made sure that INTERHEART participants considered their workout routines and how they were feeling when performing them.

Another question assessed during the study was if the survivors had been exercising while being in risky emotional states, at the same time of the day, or the day before, they suffered their first heart attack.

The study discovered that both factors, exercising and a disturbed emotional state, can affect the body and make it vulnerable to a heart attack. Smyth said that both factors can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, which alters the blood flow through vessels and cuts the blood supply to the heart, leading to a heart attack. If a person already has narrowed blood vessels for other causes like obesity, the risk is extremely higher.

Regarding limitations, the author said that the research was based on what people remembered from the heart attack. Memories are not perfect, and the study had to trust INTERHEART participants’ testimonials on what they thought they remembered of their training and feelings previous to their heart attack.

Source: Live Science