Get ready to drop those F-bombs! There’s good news brewing for fitness fiends who find themselves biting their tongue during a workout. Researchers discovered that swearing can actually boost muscle strength and stamina, making us physically stronger.
Whether you’re pushing through the final stages of a workout or cycling up hill and need that extra oomph, psychologists from the University of Keele discovered that a good dose of foul language might be what it takes.
In a two-part study, participants completed a short, intense workout on an exercise bike. Some were encouraged to be as profane as possible beforehand, while others were told not to swear at all. In the next study, participants completed a grip test after both swearing and swearing.
The results showed participants who swore could cycle more powerfully and grip more tightly than those who remained tight-lipped. While the increase was slight (a margin of three to four percent), it was still noticeable. Oddly enough, there was no difference in heart rate between the two groups.
Dr. Richard Stephens who led the research team said past studies have proven that swearing makes us more tolerable to pain, but this time it’s more of a stimulation of our body’s sympathetic nervous system — “the system that makes your heart pound when you are in danger,” he said.
Though Stephens’ team is not sure that swearing is the cause of strength, other measurements expected did not affect the sympathetic nervous system, nor show significant changes.
“So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered,” Stepens said. “We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully.”
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