Think you’ve got anger issues? Using the gym could just help save your life.
Anger is an incredibly powerful emotion. Managing the unpredictable surges of energy can become a problem for many people. More worryingly, a recent US study shows that having a hot temper increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Angry outbursts are followed by a two hour ‘danger period’ when you’re 5 times more likely to suffer an attack.
So if you’re a hot head, what can you do to manage it?
1. Lower your overall baseline level of risk
This means exercise regularly, eat healthily, don’t smoke and find ways to cope with stress and anger. Several studies show that exercise, even a single bout of it, can reduce the build up of anger. A few regular minutes of meditation will promote a calmer, less reactive mind. Every little really does help.
2.Use exercise to vent anger
Exercise gives people the opportunity to channel their emotions constructively. Use the powerful energy in anger to go to the gym after a tough day, rather than tearing you up inside. Anger can also be a great motivating factor to workout. An angry body pumped full of adrenaline is energy which wants you to do something physical!
3.Use exercise to manage anger chemicals
Physical activity helps lower levels of the stress chemicals, as we reported here. Exercise can also boost levels of the ‘happy’ brain chemical serotonin. Many gym-users report feeling a ‘post-workout high’. Plus, the more muscle you have the more serotonin you produce.
4.Do anger-management workouts
Many people find moderate-intense aerobic workouts very therapeutic. Lifting weights, running and Bodypump are good examples. Stretching exercises such as yoga also promote deeper, slower breathing. It’s the perfect anti-anger recipe.
Don’t let anger beat you. Beat it out at the gym!
These comments bring up a great image of lots of really cross-looking people going into the gym, and lots of happy people coming out an hour later. Let's hope it is really like that!
Wow it's amazing to see how many people vent their frustrations at the gym. Gotta put up my hand and join the ranks - working out is definitely one of my main strategies for stress management.
the punch-bag is certainly a good idea. Be careful when exercising angry, though - this can make you skip the warm up and overdo things. Known it done.
I know a few colleagues I'd happily punch. Best get to the gym quickly....!
Ha I agree with Olivia although I do feel like I need a punch bag at home sometimes too. It's a good job my gym is so local.
At least at the gym you can punch things legitimately!
This is so true. Exercising really helps me to vent after work, without having to take my aggression home with me.
I can get very frustrated and angry and my natural response is to want to hit something. Gym workouts definitely help me release my anger before I get home so i don't take it out on my partner, or anything else. it's always good to hear about how exercise improves our lives in areas other than physical health.
I definitely use my workouts to manage my anger. It's a great way of channeling a day's work stress. But I don't know that many people would be comfortable about admitting to this openly. We're not great at handling anger as a society.