Exercise has many renowned benefits from increasing your lifespan to improving your mental health and wellbeing. However, new research has shown that consistent exercise may also improve your pain threshold as well. This benefit could help you to complete daily tasks quicker while also minimizing discomfort while sick. In fact, researchers are also optimistic that the new findings could help those suffering from chronic pain. Even though the research is still ongoing, these are some of the top findings from the recent study!
The study recently conducted at the University of New South Wales and the Neuroscience Research Australia found that those who engaged in 30 minutes of exercise a day had an increased pain tolerance. Two groups were chosen with one group being asked to follow a strict aerobic regimen with the other group being asked to change nothing in their lives. Before and after the six week trial, participants had to undergo minor tests in pain tolerance. This included gripping and squeezing a stress-ball as a blood pressure monitor grew increasingly tighter. After the six weeks, those who had exercised were able to surpass their original time of endurance, and they also withstood the pain longer than those who did not exercise. While both groups felt pain at the same instant as before, those who had exercised were able to hold on longer while also feeling more at ease with the pain. This confirms that while the pain threshold did not change, the tolerance to the pain did increase.
Although the study showed that the threshold of pain did not change much, participant’s reactions to pain did strengthen and they were able to withstand it for longer without too much discomfort. The most immediate benefit from this finding is that exercise will become easier and less painful over time, and this can help those that are aging to continue their workouts. It also means that advancing to higher levels of fitness is achievable without causing excessive soreness in resting periods.
However, the most beneficial aspect of these findings is the possible application towards those with chronic pain. Those suffering from arthritis, migraines, or other forms of pain may benefit from a carefully structured workout. Researchers are hopeful that the effects of exercising are consistent and linear which would provide constant pain relief to those in need. If this is the case, then it is possible that exercise routines could be catered to specific ailments, such as a routine for migraines and a routine for arthritis.
These findings are also beneficial for those without chronic ailments. If you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, then you will likely feel less negative effects from a cold or flu than those who remain sedentary. This pain-relieving effect may also trigger a response to exercise more: if each workout feels less discomforting than the last, it will be easier to continue a routine and reap the other benefits of consistent exercise.
In the study, the participants mostly followed leg-based exercises such as bike riding and running. However, you can also get similar leg and full-body results by utilizing kettlebells or purely bodyweight exercises. Practice 30 kettlebell swings a day to strengthen your legs and core, or simply do bodyweight squats for similar benefits.
Since minimal exercise failed to show any pain-relieving benefits, you want to ensure that your heart rate stays heightened during the routine. This means a fast-paced circuit with minimal breaks, and luckily, it also means less time working out. The study shows that it is more beneficial to workout hard for 15-30 minutes than it is to leisurely workout for an hour.
With more research coming in, there are now more reasons to exercise than ever before. Aside from mental and physical benefits, you are likely to experience less pain in your life simply by exercising for 30 minutes a day. To get these benefits, simply grab a bike, kettlebell, or use your own bodyweight to get your heart pumping!