Essential Oils: Your New Workout Partners
Exercise could be more enjoyable with these essential oils by your side
On a hot summer day, you’ll see me using a few of my “secret weapons” before heading out for a sizzling run — my favorite sweat-proof sunscreen, my Coconut Pineapple deodorant, and a couple drops of peppermint essential oil on the nape of my neck. It immediately makes my body feel cool, and that iciness tends to stick with me even throughout my most blistering workouts.
Essential oils are also quite potent when it comes to exercise performance and recovery. There have been several studies completed around this topic, including one that proves the effectiveness of essential oils for women with fibromyalgia. Throughout 12 weeks, the participants used a number of essential oils, and the combination of the oils and regular exercise led to improved physical function.
Whether you’re looking for a burst of energy or ways to power down after an adrenaline rush, here are four essential oils that will boost your workout game.
Peppermint has been frequently studied for its effects upon exercise. For example, one study suggests that peppermint oil can work instantaneously and foster significant performance improvement. Other research has confirmed that peppermint oil could improve blood pressure, respiratory rates, and brain oxygen concentration.
Although sniffing peppermint oil before exercising is said to help lift your energy, these studies have concluded that better exercise performance followed after participants took peppermint oil orally. To harness its power, put a couple drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil in your water every day before hitting the gym.
Feeling exhausted after that tough workout? One study says that citrus scents (which include lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime essential oils) could greatly lessen exercise-induced fatigue. After your workout, diffuse a citrus-scented essential oil or dab it on your wrists with a carrier oil (like avocado or almond) and inhale the known aromatherapeutic benefits.
Since lavender is an essential oil that’s well-known for combatting anxiety, it should come as no surprise that a study determined that lavender could bring down one’s heart rate, something that certainly spikes during intense exercise. Try inhaling the scent of lavender before heading off to a strenuous workout to calm your heart rate and use it afterwards to continue bringing it down.
Sore muscles are part of most challenging workouts. When the fatigue begins to set in after exercising and the next day, try putting a few drops of copaiba oil in a carrier oil and rub the mixture on painful muscles. Derived from tree bark, several studies praise copaiba for its anti-inflammatory properties. I tend to use copaiba oil on my shin splints that follow a series of difficult runs, and it noticeably feels like alleviated pain levels. It just goes to show that from sleep to exercise and everything in between, essential oils really can work wonders.