Research out of the UK’s Keele University and the Long Island University in Brooklyn has found that swearing improves exercise performance and can help you better deal with pain.
For the study – first published in the Journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise – participants were made to curse while pedalling on a stationary bike for 30 seconds. This resulted in a 4.6 per cent increase in power when compared to those who used neutral language while participating in the same activity. In a separate test, swearing also led to an 8 per cent increase in hand-grip strength.
“Swearing appears to be able to bring about improvements in physical performance that may not be solely dependent on a stress response arising out of the shock value of the swearing,” the study’s co-author and Richard Stephens said in a statement.
“We know that swearing appears to be handled in brain regions not usually associated with language processing. It is possible that activation of these areas by swearing could produce performance improvements across many different domains.”
The findings also pointed to a flight or fight response triggered by extreme language, that increases our capacity to cope with pain:
To establish this, researchers analysed the impact cussing had on individuals as they plunged their hands into icy water.
"Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing," the authors explained.
Bottom line? Unleash the profanity next time you’re battling to get through burpees: if nothing else, it'll make your sweat sesh way more satisfying.