6 May 2017

'Power of swearing' boosts strength and stamina - study

2:07 pm on 6 May 2017

Swearing out loud can help to boost muscle strength and stamina, according to new British research.

No caption

Photo: 123rf.com

The study, which came from the University of Keele, had volunteers issue expletives before undertaking intense sessions on an exercise bike and a device measuring grip strength.

Lead researcher Dr Richard Stephens said the results showed the participants produced more power and had a stronger handgrip if they had sworn.

"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 you 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."

Researchers did not find any significant changes when they measured heart rate and other bodily functions which would be affected if the sympathetic nervous system was responsible for the increase in strength.

"So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered. We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully."

Christchurch-based personal trainer Kate Lugtigheid said she was not surprised by the findings.

"You need to put yourself into a state, and everybody does that differently, whether that's through aggressive swearing or grunting or visualisation, or whatever it needs to be. But put yourself into that state and you'll get a better performance, for sure."