If you work out when you are angry, you’re putting your heart at risk

Picture credit: THINKSTOCK

If you think you can go to the gym to blow off steam, you might want to think twice because the exercise can treble your risk of getting a heart attack

You’ve heard that working out can relieve stress and give you more energy,  however experts are now warning that working out when you are upset can increase the risk of having a heart attack. In fact, going hard at the gym when you are feeling angry can increase your risk of getting a heart attack by up to three times.

Researchers at the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, found that: “Being angry or upset doubled the risk of suffering heart attack symptoms within an hour; heavy physical exertion did the same. Having both at the same time more than tripled the risk for a heart attack.”

Speaking to Associated Press, Dr Andrew Smyth of McMaster University, who was involved in the research, said this finding was further proof that emotions have physical repercussions.

The study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulationfound that “physical exertion and anger or emotional upset are common in the 1 hour before the onset of symptoms of AMI and that either exposure may act as an external trigger for [acute myocardial infarction] AMI. The greatest magnitude of association was seen in those with both physical exertion and anger or emotional upset in the 1 hour before the onset of symptoms of AMI”.

READ MORE: The importance of understanding stress

South Africans are at risk of heart disease, according to the South African Heart and Stroke Foundation which says 210 people die from heart disease every day in the country.

This is not to say that you should stop working out. There are still a number of benefits to getting your sweat on. The World Health Organisation has set out guidelines on how much exercise is needed for optimal health. It suggests that adults aged 18 to 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.

“Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration. For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity,” the organisation suggests.

Sources: World Health Organisation, Associated Press