More Exercise = More Tolerance For Pain
It’s not news, as Gretchen Reynolds writes in the New York Times, that our tolerance for pain increases when we exercise–and she means at the time we exercise. Everyone knows that. But it is news, as she reports, that exercise has been shown to increase our tolerance for pain in the long term. Reynolds directs our attention to a study done at University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia and published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, that took two groups of 12 healthy adults and asked one to exercise (moderate stationary bicycling for 30 minutes, three times a week) and one group not to exercise. Oh yeah, they also measured the pain thresholds and tolerance for pain of everyone in both groups. The envelope please….After six weeks, the pain thresholds of all subjects were right where they were at the start, but the tolerance for pain had increased substantially among those who exercised. Nope, for those who didn’t exercise there was no change in pain tolerance. More gain, less pain.