A new study suggests the power of profanity may play a role in exercise success.

A team of psychologists from the University of Keele in the UK have hit upon the importance of swearing for improving muscle strength and exercise stamina. It seems that muttering or yelling (there is no difference in effect) a well-timed profanity has the ability to reduce exercise pain.

It’s hypothesized that swearing activates the sympathetic nervous system, boosting adrenaline production. The latest study had people undergoing a cycling test where they were given instructions to repeatedly vocalise a neutral word or a profanity. Those who swore (repeatedly) were able pedal harder for longer.

But before you start adding curses to your curls, it’s worth noting that it’s not necessarily the words themselves, but rather the emotional intensity of the angry utterances. As one of the researchers said, “We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully.”

Whatever the case, choose your moment and think of those around you!

Professor David Cameron-Smith is a regular Fit Planet contributor. A transplanted Australian living in New Zealand, he obtained a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from Deakin University, and undertook postdoctoral training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. His research interests include the importance of nutrition in the maintenance of optimal health in an ageing population, and the impact of nutrition in regulating the function of muscles.

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