BY CHRISTA SGOBBA
Swear like a sailor? You may not need to censor your vocabulary—if you’re looking to max out your gains, at least, research presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference suggests.
In two separate studies, the researchers examined the effects of how cursing affects workout performance. In the first, they found that people produced more power when they cycled after cursing out loud than when they stayed silent.
In the second experiment, another group of people showed greater strength on a handgrip test after swearing than when they tried it without letting the four-letter words fly.
The workout boosts aren’t entirely surprising, the researchers say in a press release, since prior experiments have shown that cursing makes you better able to tolerate pain. That may be because swearing stimulates people’s sympathetic nervous system—the same system that’s involved in your fight-or-flight response.
But in this study, the researchers didn’t find any changes in heart rate or blood pressure as a result. It’s possible that swearing’s effects on strength and power might be due to a yet-to-be determined mechanism, they say.
So more research is needed to prove why swearing gives you such a workout boost.