We all know it: Being an office drone is not the most physically stimulating form of employment. The typical office worker logs endless hours of screen time (and ass-to-chair time) each day, not to mention mind-numbing, multi-hour meetings that occupy each week.
The result: Desk jockeys lose touch with their own physicality. For some people, that can be remedied by going for a bike ride after work, or hitting the gym every few days. Some souls, though, break out of the cubicle blues by gravitating toward extreme adventure races and the physical pain they provide, according to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
In the study, researchers interviewed 26 participants in Tough Mudder races—which feature such painful obstacles like an “Arctic Enema” ice bath and dangling 10,000-volt discharging wires of “Electroshock Therapy”—before and after the races. The researchers also examined the online communities built up around the events. The lead researcher also went to four Tough Mudders in the U.K., Australia, and the U.S., where she observed, volunteered, and participated in the event.
Most people who spoke to the researchers said the challenging event helped them escape the tedium of their everyday lives, and the boredom of office work. “For individuals who feel that modern office work has made their bodies redundant, obstacle racing and other forms of short but intense and painful activities provide a brief but acute reappearance of the body,” said assistant professor Julien Cayla, Ph.D. Better yet, the scrapes and wounds left by the agonizing obstacles help people build a story of a more rewarding life spent discovering the limits of the physical body, the authors say.
If you’d like to shake off some cubicle cobwebs, or just want to perk up your life with some more exciting (and painful) events like a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race, prepare your body first with our ultimate mud run workout program.