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Anger Management? 5 ways to use fitness to combat anger

Fury. Rage. Hatred. These are very powerful words that evolve from one emotion: Anger.

We have all had those days. “Things” just add up to a boiling point. They cause an unveiling of our emotions for better or worse.

While it is usually healthy to express our emotions, if such “angry” emotions become commonplace then you may be doing more damage to your health than you could ever imagine.

Did you know that a person’s risk of heart attack rises nearly five-fold, and the risk of stroke more than three-fold, in the 2 hours following an outburst of anger? Imagine the toll the repeated effects of these emotions could have on your health. Can you say “heart attack waiting to happen?”

So how exactly does anger contribute to heart disease? Emotions such as anger and hostility quickly activate the “fight or flight response,” in which stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, speed up your heart rate and breathing. The summation of these emotions give you a burst of energy (albeit a negative one if your anger becomes too prevalent).

The stress response is your body’s natural and needed way to mobilize you for emergencies.  However, repeated activation of these responses will cause great harm on your heart health.

Anger Snapshot

Your heart pumps harder. Blood vessels constrict. Blood pressure surges. Glucose levels rise. Fat globules are produced in your blood vessels.

Repeated emotions like this will eventually cause damage to your artery walls. Frequent anger may speed up the process of atherosclerosis, whereby fatty plaques build up in your arteries.

So what can be done to combat the frequency of these emotions and lead to an overall healthier life for yourself? And no, I am not suggesting the latest or greatest medication any of our pharmaceutical labs produce to numb you either. I am talking about your training, or lack thereof, to get focused on a healthier you!

5 Ways to Kick Anger to the Curb

  • Yoga: spend some time getting in touch with your breathing, mobility and core strength.
  • Weightlifting: no I am not talking about biceps curls and calf raises here. I am talking about lifting heavy! Angry? Fuel those emotions with some heavy squats. Furious? Put some force into the bar on some heavy deadlifts. Are you filled with hatred? Learn something new that will make you stronger, more athletic and more mobile than ever before…the snatch and clean & jerk are your saving grace.
  • Meditation: just a few minutes a day finding solace within yourself will work wonders.
  • Metcons/high intensity interval training: exerting your anaerobic threshold. Getting in touch with your redline. Call it what you want, but your anger will subside when you are too tried after a great metcon to exert those negative emotions.
  • Boxing: hitting the heavy bag for a few minutes will help with many emotions like stress, anxiety and of course anger.

These five ways to curb your anger may be different, yet they are interlinked: getting in touch with your body to understand and control it.

Sometimes it may involve loading up the weights on a barbell or hitting the heavy bag for a few rounds. Other times, a more peaceful and calm approach may be needed through the breathing techniques found in meditation and yoga.

The time is now to change out words like fury, rage and hatred with joy, love and peace. A steady diet of the 5 methods to control your anger will lead to a healthier, happier you.

  • Andrew

    Good work Chris