Being angry or upset, along with strenuous exercise, may trigger a heart attack, suggests a study in the journal Circulation.
Researchers analyzed data from the well-known INTERHEART study, which included more than 12,000 people from 52 countries who had suffered a first heart attack and asked them what occurred during the previous hour. They found that anger or emotional upset more than doubled the risk of a heart attack during the next hour, as did vigorous exertion (rather than just regular physical activity or exercise).
The greatest risk, however, was seen in people who recalled being angry or upset while also engaging in heavy exertion during the hour before their heart attack—their risk tripled.
Despite the concern about vigorous activity, especially in people at elevated coronary risk because of atherosclerosis, the researchers said that “given the established benefits of regular physical activity over the long term, clinicians should continue to advise patients about the lifelong benefits of exercise.”
Bottom line: If you turn to exercise to blow off steam, don’t overdo it.