The constant reports of what makes the perfect workout are, to put it mildly, confusing. HIIT. No, HIIT, then steady-state cardio. No, mostly weights. Swimming. Whatever Jake Gyllenhaal is doing at the moment. What is HIIT again?
Researchers have found that whatever you do, one thing can make a real difference: Swearing. The study, conducted by Keele University and Long Island University Brooklyn, indicated that uttering expletives during a workout leads to an increase in physical strength.
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The researchers had one group of people cycle, and another group do a hand-grip test. Both groups did two sets — one in which they sweared, and one without. The scientists found that in the cycling groups, swearing caused a 4% increase in power output after one cuss word, and an overall 3% increase after 30 seconds. The handgrip groups exhibited an 8% increase in strength. “When we got people to repeat a swear word or a neutral word while they were doing it, we showed a performance increment with swearing,” said Richard Stephens of Keele University. “It’s not just a chance effect; there’s something really there.”
Sound like a pile of everloving steaming BS? Let the science men explain the possible reasoning behind the result: They speculate that swearing could lead to a “general disinhibition,” Stephens said. “Swearing kind of makes you throw off the shackles and throw caution to the wind and be less up-tight about things, and the benefit could come from that.”
In other words, they don’t know. If that irritates you, let it fly. It can’t hurt. Literally: In 2009, Stephens and his researchers found that swearing reduced study subjects’ feelings of pain by 50 percent compared with those who kept quiet.