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Study: Exercise while angry increases heart attack risk

ONTARIO, CANADA (WISH) — New research suggests hitting the gym for a tough workout while stressed or angry, increases your risk of a heart attack. That’s especially true if exercise is not a regular part of your routine.

The study released this week ties heavy exertions while upset or stress to a tripled risk of a heart attack within an hour.

Earlier studies looked at anger and exercise as heart attack triggers, but the studies were small. This study out of Canada, included more than 12,000 people in 52 counties after suffering a first heart attack.

The researchers did not account for other factors such as smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure. The study was observational, meaning patients reported their own stress or anger and “strenuous exertion” is whatever the patient perceives it to be, so that could be anything from walking the dog to a high-level cross-fit class or running a marathon.

Researchers said being angry or upset alone doubles the risk of a heart attack within an hour, as does exercise alone. It’s pairing the two factors that makes the risk increase to three-fold.

The risk was greatest between 6 p.m. and midnight.

American Heart Association psychologists said it’s important to find ways to curb extreme emotional reactions, such as relaxing hobbies, talking it out, or just walking away from stressful situations.

Researchers said the big takeaway from this is regular exercise, even for those who use it to relieve everyday stress. But on those days where you’re feeling extra emotional or angry, it’s important not to over do it or go beyond your regular routine.