World-class triathletes can shrug off pain better than non-athletes

Oct. 3, 2013 at 6:30 PM   |   Comments

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- World-class triathletes are tough and therefore successful because they feel less pain than most people, researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel suggest.

Those who participate in the sport involving swimming, bicycling and running routinely push their bodies beyond the limits most people can endure, the researchers said, but little has been understood about what gives them their exceptional abilities.

TAU researchers Ruth Defrin and Nirit Geva report they've found triathletes feel less pain than casual exercisers.

"In our study, triathletes rated pain lower in intensity, tolerated it longer, and inhibited it better than individuals in a control group," Defrin said. "We think both physiological and psychological factors underlie these differences and help explain how triathletes are able to perform at such a high level."

In experiments, triathletes identified pain as well as non-athletes did, but they perceived it as less intense and were able to withstand it longer, the researchers found.

Detecting pain is a relatively straightforward sensory experience, they said, whereas evaluating pain and being willing and able to endure it involves attitude, motivation, and life experience.

"It is very difficult to separate physiology and psychology," Defrin said. "But in general, experience is the sum of these factors."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
You've got mites on your face, and so does everyone else
Panda fakes pregnancy to get more food [UPDATED]
Weird 'walking' fish holds evolutionary clues
Trash-burning around the world polluting atmosphere
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
Trending News