Group Effort Appears to Boost Pain Threshold
How much a workout hurts may depend on how many people are involved in the effort. That's the suggestion of research conducted at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, where scientists investigated the pain levels experienced by rowers from the Oxford Boat Race squad when they trained alone and when they did the same exercises in a group. Science Daily reports that the rowers were asked to row for 45 minutes in a virtual boat in
the gym, in an exercise carried out in two
teams of six and then in a separate session as individuals. After each rowing session, the researchers
measured their pain threshold by how long they could stand an inflated
blood pressure cuff on the arm.
The study found there was a significant increase in the rowers’ pain
threshold following exercise in both sessions, but the increase was much greater for those who had rowed in a group. The researchers theorize that a synchronized activity such a rowing (or dancing) as a group increases our endorphin rush.