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Fitness & Health

Upset About the Election? Hitting the Gym While Angry Can Be Harmful to Your Health

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Many Americans are angry about the results of Tuesday’s presidential election. But don’t be so quick to channel your emotions into an intense session at the gym — it could be harmful to your heart.

A study published in the journal Circulation looked at more than 12,000 individuals from 52 countries who had suffered from heart attacks and investigated what may have triggered them. Through a series of questions about physical activity and feelings of anger prior to the onset of the attacks, researchers found that “anger or emotional upset in the case period was associated with an increased odds of AMI [acute myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack].”

Unsurprisingly, physical exertion also increased the odds, but the odds of a heart attack were highest when the two factors were combined.

That doesn’t mean you have to ditch your gym shoes for good. The study noted that external triggers clearly do not always lead to heart attacks. “It is likely that external triggering events precipitate AMI only” when there is a biological predisposition, said researchers.

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Furthermore, the “findings suggest that heavy physical exertion may be a trigger for AMI, rather than any physical activity.”

So if you’re working up a sweat to vent your post-election frustration, you may want to choose a low-key activity to protect your heart health.