According to a new study, swearing while working out improves performance
Drop an F-bomb, drop some weight.
That’s per a recent presentation to a conference organized by the British Psychological Society. Keele University psychologist Richard Stephens organized two groups of participants, who were told to pedal vigorously on an exercise bike for 30 seconds and perform a hand-grip test respectively. Each group was asked to carry out the activity once while repeating a swear word in “an even tone,” and another time uttering a neutral phrase like “wooden or “brown.”
The results are fodder for potty mouths everywhere. Bikers who cursed found that their peak power rose on average by 24 watts, while those who were testing their grip found that their strength rose by 2.1 kg. That comes as no surprise to psychologists, or indeed anybody who’s grunted and cursed on a treadmill.
Still, Stephens was intrigued that swearing didn’t lead to the subject’s heart rate or blood pressure rising, as some would have expected. “Quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered,” he told the Guardian of London. “I think people instinctively reach for swearwords when they hurt themselves and when they’re looking for an extra boost in performance.”
The latest presentation riffs off past work done by Stephens, in which he found that cursing while dipping your hand into ice cold water increases your pain tolerance.
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