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How to manage stress during the NBA playoffs

Tips to "keep calm" and manage stress during NBA Playoffs
Tips to "keep calm" and manage stress during NBA Playoffs 02:18

BOSTON -- With the Celtics leading 2-0 in the NBA Playoffs, both players and fans are feeling the heat.

While playing sports can certainly be risky for your health, being a die-hard fan can, too -- especially if a game is close and exciting.  Watching your team battle it out can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, which triggers symptoms of anxiety.

According to researchers, hospital admissions for heart failure and other cardiovascular events increase during sporting events. A 2024 Mass General Hospital study found that people with specific genetic traits and those with anxiety or depression are at a higher risk of having a heart attack during periods of stress, like the NBA Playoffs. 

Avoid getting sick

In times of stress, those with underlying heart problems or are elderly should avoid foods with too much salt. Harvard experts say salty foods can put additional stress on the heart. 

Another tip is to make sure you take your heart medications as directed. Stay hydrated and limit your alcohol intake. And, if you develop worrisome symptoms like chest discomfort or shortness of breath, go to the E.R. right away.  

Sadly, some people don't seek help until after the game, which could make matters much worse. 

Late games and sleep

Although these exciting games can air late on the East Coast, staying up late to watch the Playoffs puts additional stress on our bodies.

We feel sleepy the next day, moody, and cranky. The lack of sleep can reduce our levels of alertness, making us more likely to get into a car crash, fall, or suffer a work-related accident.

Make sure you adjust your schedule so that you get adequate sleep when the game is over, or dare I say, turn in early and check the score in the morning.

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