The Most Dangerous Time to Exercise Is......when you're angry or upset. Why? Heavy exertion, such as doing a long run or intense gym workout, while you are stressed or mad triples your risk of having a heart attack within one hour, reports The Associated Press about research from Canada's McMaster University. While it's a medical fact that regular exercise is good for your heart and may help prevent heart disease, exercising when your emotions are overwrought can be physically harmful.
The study: Led by Dr. Andrew Smyth of the Population Health Research Center at McMaster, the team followed 12,461 people from 52 countries, all of whom had suffered a first heart attack. About 75 percent of the participants were men, and the average age of the entire group was 58. They answered a survey about what happened before they experienced the heart attack, including whether they were angry or upset or had heavy exertion in both the hour preceding the heart attack and the same time period the previous day. This allowed the researchers to compare risk at different times in the same people, as well as the effect of these potential heart attack triggers.
What can you do? Work on ways to modify your emotional reactions to hot-button situations, and failing that postpone your workout until you have cooled off. Emotional stress and physical exertion raise your blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn alters the blood flow in the vessels and reduces the heart's blood supply. If an artery is already clogged with plaque, it could very well be enough to trigger a heart attack.
But do note: This is an observational study based on participants' memory and self-reporting. So while there does appear to be a link between these risk factors and heart attack risk, it is not a cause and effect.
The study findings were published in the journal Circulation, a publication of the American Heart Association.
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