Some great f—ing news for sailors, athletes, and potty-mouths everywhere: Swearing makes you stronger and gives you more stamina, according to a new study.
Researchers in the U.K. and swear-capital-of-the-world Brooklyn discovered that cussing helps gives the body a boost in power, whether it’s to punch it up a steep hill during a workout, or smack a fastball a bit farther.
They discovered the benefits of cussing through two new experiments as part of the new study.
The first put 29 participants through a short, intense workout on an exercise bike after both swearing and not swearing.
The second involved 52 participants squeezing an isometric hand-grip, also after cursing and not cursing.
The results showed that those who dropped F-bombs while working out had increased strength and stamina.
“We know from our earlier research that swearing makes people more able to tolerate pain,” said Dr. Richard Stephens, from Keele University in England, who conducted the study along with David Spierer and Emmanuel Katehis, both of Long Island University in Brooklyn. “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.”
Stephens added, “If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too — and that is just what we found in these experiments.”
The people who cursed while pedaling had an increased peak in power of an average of 24 watts, the Independent reported.
And those who swore while clutching the hand grip improved their strength by about 2.2 pounds.
Participants were encouraged to use a swear word they’d usually say if they whacked their head – and, naturally, f—k and s—t came out on top, according to the Independent.
They were also told not to scream the profanities but instead use a “steady and clear” voice.
The study turned up surprising findings.
Stephens and his team expected that cursing would lead to an increase in heart rate and affect other parts of the sympathetic nervous system responsible for the uptick in strength but none were detected.
“So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered,” Stephens said. “We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully.”
Results of the study were presented Friday at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Brighton.
In 2011, Stephens found that cursing helped people feel less pain — a possible explanation to why we curse after hurting ourselves.