Triathletes ‘feel pain differently’

Israeli study suggests athletes feel less pain, cope better


Triathletes may experience pain in a different way to other people, according to a new Israeli study, which found that they rate pain lower, have a higher tolerance to it, and use better coping mechanisms.


The study by researchers at Tel Aviv university involved 19 triathletes and 17 non-athletes, who were subjected to psychophysical pain tests then asked to fill out questionnaires on their attitudes toward pain.

Professor Ruth Defrin, leading researcher of the study, said: “In our study, triathletes rated pain lower in intensity, tolerated it longer and inhibited it better than individuals in a control group.

“We think both physiological and psychological factors underlie these differences and help explain how triathletes are able to perform at such a high level.”

The study adds that it is possible that through their intensive training, triathletes may have taught their bodies to better suppress pain stimuli.

Prof Defrin and her team now plan to research whether triathletes enter the sport because they feel less pain, or feel less pain because they entered the sport.

These latest findings echo the results of a separate study by Dr Justin Roberts of the UK’s University of Hertfordshire, who recently suggested that training for a long-distance triathlon improves mental toughness.

Via Shalom Life


(Photo: N20 Photo Services)