Hell yes: Swearing makes you stronger - study

Swearing man
No one's sure why swearing makes you stronger, but it does (Getty)

Next time you're at the gym and struggling to lift, try letting out a few swearwords first.

Researchers in the UK have found letting a few cuss words fly can actually make you physically stronger - at least temporarily.

"We know from our earlier research that swearing makes people more able to tolerate pain," says Dr Richard Stephens of Keele University.

"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.

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

Dr Stephens' team carried out two experiments. In the first, participants twice jumped on an exercise bike and pedalled as hard as they could - once before swearing, once not before swearing.

In the second, their handgrip strength was tested - again, before swearing and after swearing.

In both cases, swearing improved participants' physical strength, Dr Stephens said - but it's still not clear why it works.

"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.

"Quite 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."

Dr Stephens presented his findings at a recent conference of the British Psychological Society, in Brighton.