Swearing While You Exercise Could Make You Stronger

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The full power of swearing is starting to be discovered. Recently, we’ve learned that a swearing is a sign of high intelligence. This time, psychologist revealed that saying swear words can make us stronger and increases physical performance.

It turns out, the release we feel while juicy swearing, have a biological confirmation. So, whether you’re cycling up a hill and need an extra push or simply trying to open a tightly-closed jar, a good dose of foul language may be what it takes.

New research is presented by Richard Stevens, a senior lecturer in psychology at Keele University, at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference. The study was a follow-up on previous research which found that swearing helps increase tolerance of pain (stress-induced analgesia), which may explain why so many of us let out obscenities when hurt.

It won’t turn you into an Olympian like Jeon Sang-Guen, pictured, but in a grip, test swearers boosted their strength by the equivalent of 2.1kg. Image credit: Dan Chung

Researchers conducted several tests, where were enrolled 29 people aged about 21 for the cycling test and 52 people with a typical age of 19 for the hand-grip test. In the circle test, participants were asked to swear before doing an intense session on an exercise bike or to refrain. Those who were foul-mouthed saw their power rise by 24 watts on average.

The same was asked of participants in the handgrip test. They have to choose whether to swear or not while trying to squeeze device as hard as they could for 10 seconds. The researchers found that the swearers managed to boost their strength by the equivalent of over two kilograms.

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 are in danger. If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too – and that is just what we found in these experiments, said Dr. Stephens in the conference’s press release.

It’s important to point out that the study used a relatively small sample size and has yet to be a peer-reviewed journal. At the moment, these findings are intriguing rather than conclusive. After more scientific research on exactly what brain functions are triggered by swearing, we can more precisely speak about its effects on strength and pain tolerance.

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