Exercising to "blow off steam" when you're furious is how a lot of people end up having their first heart attack, researchers warn. Physical activity and emotional upset are both known to trigger heart attacks, and the combination of the two can be deadly, according to research published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation. Researchers analyzed information on more than 12,000 patients, with an average age of 58, in 52 countries and discovered that the combination of extreme emotions and extreme activity caused the risk of experiencing a heart attack within the hour to triple. The study subjects were asked what "triggers" they had experienced in an hour before their first heart attack.
Anger and exercise are a lot alike, says lead researcher Dr Andrew Smyth, per the Guardian. "Both can raise blood pressure and heart rate, changing the flow of blood through blood vessels and reducing blood supply to the heart," he says. "Regular physical activity has many health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease, so we want that to continue," he says. "However, we would recommend that a person who is angry or upset who wants to exercise to blow off steam not go beyond their normal routine to extremes of activity.” Adds an expert: The findings "(provide) more evidence of the crucial link between mind and body." (Another recent study found that 45% of heart attacks are undetected by the person having them.)