A new study shows how exercise can increase pain tolerance

June 2, 2023 0 Comments

Published in the latest version PLoS ONE, this study1 was conducted on a group of over 10,000 adults in Norway from the University Hospital in Tromsø. The researchers had participants self-report their activity level and then measured their pain tolerance.

How did they do it? Each participant dipped their arm into ice-cold water and then rated their pain on a scale. The researchers measured pain tolerance twice over an eight-year period.

Finally, participants who reported a more active lifestyle rated ice water pain lower. Those who exercised more often were also able to hold their hand in the water for about 20 seconds longer than the mostly sedentary group.

There was also a dose-response trend, meaning that the more often they exercised, the more pain tolerance increased. Interestingly, participants who increased their activity levels over the eight-year study period also showed increased pain tolerance over time.

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