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Monday, February 23, 2015

Doing This Could Be the Thing That Kills You

Calm Down or Keel Over

Chill, dude: Lose your temper and you could lose your life. An angry outburst can trigger a heart attack, the European Heart Journalreports.

In reviewing studies of behavior before a heart attack, researchers noted that people were nearly five times as likely to have an attack in the two hours after an angry episode. Plus, the risk of a clot-related stroke rose about three and a half times. That may be because psychological stress can increase heart rate and blood pressure and restrict bloodflow.

Next time you're on the verge of a meltdown, slow your breathing—a lot. Taking six breaths a minute can reduce your blood pressure within five minutes, research shows.

Work Out or Pig Out?

Message for both gym rats and rookies: Find a workout you enjoy. A new study from Germany reports that your state of mind at the gym may make you overeat later.

People who did an ergometer workout labeled "fat burning" ate an average of 131 calories after the session, even though they'd burned only 96. And those who weren't excited about hitting the gym consumed even more—262 calories.

The "fat burning" label may have led people to think they'd reached their calorie-burning goal, while those who lacked motivation may have been freer with rewards, says study author Jorg Konigstorfer, Ph.D.

Two Moves for Crick Relief

Hey, desk jockey: A simple two-exercise combo can relieve your neck and shoulder pain, a Danish study suggests.

Office workers who spent long hours at computers and felt achy in those areas performed the exercises shown here—which hit surrounding muscles—three times a week. The result: After 10 weeks, their pain had diminished.

"Too much sitting may overuse surrounding muscles and reduce movement in the neck and shoulders, causing those areas to hurt," saysMH sports medicine advisor Bill Hartman, P.T. This training approach can restore movement in the neck and shoulders, cuing your brain to reduce the pain.

Block Gut Punches

Rumbling stomach? A PLOS One review suggests that probiotics may ease eight types of gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

In fact, these beneficial bacteria could reduce the collective risk of those ailments by 42 percent, the researchers note, because of their capacity to overwhelm gut pathogens. A blend with multiple strains was especially potent, cutting the risk of GI trouble by 83 percent. Choose yogurt with several strains of live, active cultures.

Last Call for Your Relationship

Avoid another dangerous kind of DUI—dating under the influence. Two heavy drinkers may face a rocky relationship, suggests a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Young couples who drank a lot—four or five drinks two or three times a week—were more likely than social drinkers to split six years down the road.

A mutual interest in alcohol may signal compatibility at first; but over time it can lead to jealousy and fights, says study author Jacquelyn Wiersma, Ph.D.

The Office of Your Dreams

It's time you lightened up at work. More exposure to natural daylight makes for better sleep, reports a Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study.

Workers with office windows slept 47 more minutes a night than those who had little to no exposure. Light regulates circadian rhythms and cues you to shut down faster, says study author Mohamed Boubekri, Ph.D. 

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