The findings come from psychologist Richard Stephens at the UK's Keele University, who conducted a series of experiments with participants who were asked to do things like pedal away on exercise bikes and do basic grip tests while repeating a profanity of their choice, one they might unleash after accidentally banging their head. He also asked them to perform the same tasks while repeating a "neutral" word. The results determined that, on average, swearing improved the bikers' power by 24 watts, and the strength of a person's grip by 4.6 pounds. In other words, swearing your face off during a game of tug-of-war won't miraculously Hulk-ify you, but it will make a measurable difference. Interestingly, participants' heart rates didn't rise any more while swearing than they did while repeating the neutral words, suggesting profanity wasn't actually triggering the fight or flight response, which is linked to sudden increases in strength.
Stephens is what you might call an expert in expletives, as these new findings follow other research he's conducted about the relationship between spewing vulgarities and the body, which found evidence that swearing actually increases peoples' pain tolerance.
So there you have it, next time you need to open a pesky pickle jar or push through the last few reps (or, alternately, injure yourself doing either), just drop a few f-bombs.
h/t The Guardian
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