A new study that was recently presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychology in Brighton, England, has suggested that dropping a few swear-words while you sweat it out at the gym could actually boost your strength and stamina.
The researchers were inspired by previous research that had suggested that swearing can make pain more tolerable and went on to put together two experiments to see if the result would indicate this in a workout context.
The first experiment saw 29 volunteers (with an average age of 21) sitting on stationary bikes and cycling as hard as they could while swearing consistently. For the second part of the experiment, they were told to do the same exercise without swearing.
Researchers then studied the results and found that the volunteers’ performance was boosted by 2-4% when they cursed.
Some 52 volunteers were brought together for the second experiment and were each given a gadget that tested their grip strength by gripping the device. Researchers found that the swearing participants increased their strength by 8%.
“We know from our earlier research that swearing makes people more able to tolerate pain. A possible reason for this is that it stimulates the body’s sympathetic nervous system – that’s the system that makes your heart pound when you’re in danger,” lead author of the study from the University of Keele, Dr Richard Stephens, told The Independent.
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“If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too, and that is just what we found in these experiments. Why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered.”
Stephens speculates that the reason might be that one is distracted by swearing, which could allow them to go a bit harder.
“We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully,” he said.
Additional source: The Independent