OXFORD – Science has proved it: People do better as a team. Researchers from Oxford University have found that team players can tolerate twice as much pain as those who work alone.
The study, which carried out tests on 12 rowers after a vigorous workout in a virtual boat, suggests that exercising together appears to increase the level of the feel-good endorphin hormones naturally released during physical exertion.
Writing in Biology Letters, the authors speculate these hormones may underpin an array of communal activities.
Physical exertion releases endorphins and that these are responsible for the sometimes euphoric sensations experienced after exercising are facts already known.
However, in the new study, researchers from Oxford University’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology found this response was heightened by the synergistic effect of rowing together.
After 45 minutes of either rowing separately or in a team of six, the researchers measured their pain threshold by how long they could tolerate an inflated blood pressure cuff on the arm, reports The BBC.xercise increased both groups’ ability to tolerate pain, but the difference was significantly more pronounced among the team rowers.
This, they said, was a measure of an increased endorphin release.
“The results suggest that endorphin release is significantly greater in group training than in individual training even when power output, or physical exertion, remains constant,” said lead author
“The exact features of group activity that generate this effect are unknown, but this study contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that synchronized, coordinated physical activity may be responsible,” the expert added.