A recent study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests a positive correlation between working out and a higher pain tolerance. In other words, working out regularly can help individuals build a long-term tolerance to pain.
The study involved 24 physically inactive students from universities in Sydney, Australia, 12 of which were interested in exercising, and 12 who were not. Those who were interested in exercising undertook a moderately active physicial regime lasting 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, the groups were tested for changes in their pain thresholds. The control group indicated to significant change, while the active group displayed a greater tolerance of pain. While they reacted to the pain the same was as originally tested, the active group were able to tolerate the experience to a greater extent than before. According to Matthew Jones, leader of the Study at the University of South Wales,
[the results] suggest that the participants who exercised had become more stoical and perhaps did not find the pain as threatening after exercise training, even though it still hurt as much.
The study’s implications are especially important for those suffering from chronic pain. As chronic pain is a condition that doctors are often only able to dull using painkillers, the ability of exercise to boost an individual’s endurance of pain may help them handle the constant discomfort of chronic conditions. That being said, those suffering from such pain should consult a physician before starting a new exercise regime.
Read more here- “How Exercise Helps Us Tolerate Pain,” (Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times)
Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.