MeditationIf you plan on hitting the gym or going for a run while you are upset or angry, then you might want to think again. An international study has linked heavy exertion done under the state of stress (or during a state of anger) to an increased risk of heart attack.

Of course, exercising regularly is a healthy way of dealing with stress and also aids in the prevention of heart diseases; however, the problem is that a lot of people don’t exercise quite a lot during their lifespan. According to a new study, there are good times and bad times at which you should exercise. This new study also proves that there are certain extremes which have the power of triggering harmful effects with regards to a person’s health. The current research was published in the journal Circulation.

A psychologist from suburban Philadelphia, Barry Jacobs, states that this study serves as further evidence for the link present between the body and the mind. He further stated that when you are angry, you should not go out and refrain yourself from engaging in heavy physical exertion.


There have been earlier studies which have observed exertion and anger as triggers of a heart attack but most of these studies were either done on a small scale, were just focused within one country or state, or they included only minorities or women. On the other hand, this new study consisted of 12,461 people that were suffering their very first heart attack and they were from 52 different countries. Three-fourths of these people were men while the overall average of age was 58 years.

The participants were asked to answer a survey about if they were upset or angry, or had engaged in heavy physical activity, in the hour that went by before their heart attack or in the previous day, during the same period of time.

This new study concluded that being angry or upset puts people at a doubled risk of suffering from the symptoms of a heart attack just within one hour. It also showed that indulging in extreme physical exertion produced the same result. The study also concluded that having both things occur simultaneously tripled the risk of becoming a victim of a heart attack. This likelihood of risk was independent of other factors like obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure, and was the highest between 6 in the evening to midnight.


Since the current study is only observational, the effect and the causes can’t be proven. However, the findings of the study are plausible biologically. Exertion, as well as emotional stress, raises the heart rate and the blood pressure which alters the blood flow in the vessels. Consequently, the amount of blood that is being supplied to the heart is reduced. In a particular artery that has been clogged by plaque, any trigger could block the flow of blood and can cause the onset of a heart attack.

Barry Jacobs explained that people need to find methods through which they can avoid excessive anger and can modify their emotional reactions such as walking away from the situation, distracting themselves, letting all their anger out, seeing it through another perspective, and by taking the help of other people.

Of course, if you view this from a practical point of view, it is impossible to avoid exposure to these extremes. Therefore, regular physical activity is advised for all. However, people shouldn’t do more than what consists of their usual routines during such extreme instances of anger and stress.