By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s the power of profanity. New research says swearing can improve a workout and help reduce pain.

The research comes from Keele University in England, where they found that people who cursed while squeezing a hand vice were able to squeeze harder and longer.

People on bikes who swore while peddling against resistance had more power and strength than people who used neutral words, according to the study.

Researchers say, whether it is socially acceptable or not, cursing can actually improve fitness and endurance.

The power of profanity starts in the brain. Saying a curse word while working out produces a rush of adrenaline that boosts the heart rate and breathing, upping oxygen intake. The result is improved athletic performance.

Swearing produces a stress response that initiates the body’s ancient defensive reflex, which not only improves a workout, but it can also help with an injury.

Say you stub your toe or cut a finger. Researchers say swearing helps the body combat pain. It’s called the analgesic response, which makes the body more impervious to pain.

Cursing also triggers an emotional response which can work to your benefit, if you need the extra motivation.

Researchers caution that curse words seem to lose their power over pain and endurance when they are used too much.

Another study found people who cursed as they plunged their hand into icy water felt less pain and were able to keep their hands in the water longer than those who didn’t swear.

Stephanie Stahl