Doing regular exercise may increase your pain tolerance, a study suggests.

People who do a moderate level of exercise were found to be able to endure physical distress for twice as long as a person who does very little activity. Data from more than 10,000 people revealed the people who do the most activity have the highest pain tolerance.

People were graded as being either sedentary, light exercise, moderate exercise or vigorous activity.

Sedentary behaviour included people whose only activities were reading, watching TV or similar. Light was walking, cycling, or other forms of exercise at least four hours a week.

Moderate was classified as participation in recreational sports, heavy gardening, etc. at least four hours a week.

Vigorous was taking part in hard training or sports competitions, regularly several times a week.

Repeated measurements show that light exercise people were able to tolerate a test of discomfort - plunging their hand into icy water until they can not stand it any more - lasted for 6.7 seconds longer than sedentary people.

Moderate group lasted for more than twice as long and recorded an average time of 14.1 seconds, riding to 16.3 seconds for the modest active group.

“In this study of a general population sample, being physically active across two measurements was associated with higher pain tolerance at follow-up as compared to being sedentary at both time-points, the scientists write in their study, published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“Furthermore, changing physical activity from lower to higher levels might be associated with a higher pain tolerance than an equally large change going from higher to lower physical activity.

“This might indicate that it is not only the total physical activity amount that matters but also the direction of change.”

The authors add: “Becoming or staying physically active over time can benefit your pain tolerance. Whatever you do, the most important thing is that you do something!”

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2023-05-24T18:02:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd