Swearing can make you stronger

There’s a stigma attached to swearing. Sure, swearing may not be socially acceptable, but new research reveals that there are health benefits associated with dropping the occasional curse word.

Dr Richard Stephens from Keele University conducted two experiments. The first experiment was a test of anaerobic power, where 29 participants underwent a short, intense ride on an exercise bike, while swearing and then not swearing. The second experiment consisted of 52 participants completing an isometric handgrip test, both swearing and not swearing.

In both experiments, results revealed that participants produced more power if they swore.

“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 your heart pound when you are in danger,” said Dr Stephens.

“If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too – and that is just what we found in these experiments.

“But when we measured heart rate and some other things you would expect to be affected if the sympathetic nervous system was responsible for this increase in strength, we did not find significant changes.

“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.”

So, if you feel the need to swear, just let it fly. It’s good for you!

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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