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4 Essential Oils to Enhance Exercise

by Jodi Cohen

Exercise is the single best thing we can possibly do for your heath.

Any kind of movement, including walking, yoga or more intense exercise, offers numerous health benefits – enhancing the flow of blood and lymph, releasing endorphins, and strengthening your body. It also helps route blood flow to your brain to increase your physical and mental energy levels.

The routine of walking, in particular, helps calm the mind due to the meditative repetition of steps…left, right, left, right…helps lower stress and improve your mood.

 

Exercise Benefits Brain Health

Movement and exercise help support healthy brain chemistry by increasing the release of happy hormones like endorphins, energizing hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline) and uplifting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Research from UC Davis Health System published in The Journal of Neuroscience correlates exercise with improved mental fitness.  “Intense exercise increases levels of two common neurotransmitters — glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA — that are responsible for chemical messaging within the brain.”

Exercise has also been found to support depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders linked with deficiencies in neurotransmitters, which drive communications between the brain cells that regulate physical and emotional health (including mood disorders like anxiety and depression).

“Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored,” said study lead author Richard Maddock, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.”

Exercise also increases the amount of  neurotransmitters  in  the  brain,  specifically  serotonin  and  norepinephrine,  which  improve  information  processing  and  mood.

A study from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases showed that exercise increases the volume of the hippocampus (the region of the brain critical for learning and memory).

Research from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 reported that aerobic exercise among 120 older adults increased the actual size of the hippocampus by two percent and effectively reversed the aging-related cell loss by one to two years.

Similarly, animal research conducted by scientists at the University of Chicago found that aerobic exercise led to both an increase in cell production in the hippocampus which improves brain function and enhances your ability to store information for learning and memory along with your capacity to learn new things, improve motor function and auditory  attention

Exercise also promotes the production of neurotrophins, proteins that aid neuron survival and function. Having more neurotrophins leads to greater brain plasticity, which boosts memory and learning.

 

Essential Oils to Enhance Exercise

Exercise also enhances circulation, which is critical for delivery of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body and the brain, while simultaneously carrying toxins and waste to the kidney and liver to be eliminated.

Essential oils can help improve circulation by relaxing the blood vessels and improving the health of the blood vessels.  This helps more blood circulate through them, improving circulation in the process.

Essential oils can also be used to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow.  Essential oils may also help alleviate some of the triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow.

Essential oils can also be used to improve lymphatic system functionality which can help flush out toxins and reduce inflammation of the blood vessels, improving blood flow throughout the body.

For example, research has shown that Peppermint essential oil significantly improved exercise performance.

Peppermint essential oil contains high concentrations of the property menthol which works to enhance exercise performance, boost energy and stimulate concentration.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, peppermint essential oil enhances energy, alertness and memory.  Research from the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increases the mental accuracy by 28%.

 

4 Essential Oils to Enhance Exercise

1. Circulation™

Optimal circulation is important for any exercise, especially when your legs and feet need a little boost to fight the effects of gravity.  Essential oils can help improve circulation by relaxing the blood vessels and improving the health of the blood vessels.  This helps more blood circulate through them, improving circulation in the process.  Essential oils can also be used to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow.  Read More about Essential Oils for Circulation HERE.

Circulation™ blend supports healthy circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body and the brain, while simultaneously carrying toxins and waste to the kidney and liver to be eliminated. Circulation™ is formulated with several oils known to be high in sesquiterpenes, including Black Pepper, Ginger and Frankincense that deliver oxygen to the cells. Apply 2- 3 drops of Circulation™ on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles to support energy, brain endurance and warmth of the distal extremities, like the fingers and toes.

2. Lymph™

Exercise and movement help get the lymphatic system moving and our Lymph oil seems to enhance that movement, increasing my energy level and helping me enhance my exercise regime. As you may know, interstitial lymph fluid flows through the lymph nodes where toxins are filtered out.  Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump the fluid through the body.  The more you can help the  lymph fluid flow, the more quickly you can move toxins out of the body.  Applying Vibrant Blue Oils Lymph™  before exercise to the lymph nodes — sides of neck, under the arms and around bikini line (where your leg creases when you lift it) – helps  increase circulation of the lymphatic system, leaving you feeling lighter, stronger and healthier.

3. Adrenal™

The muscles supporting much of your lower back are related to the adrenal glands and provide major support to the pelvis and lower back. When your adrenal glands are under more stress than they can handle, these muscles will directly be affected and the support to the lower back will be lost, leading to low back pain and even downstream issues, like knee pain.  A fun fact, when the adrenals are off, they can throw off leg length, with one leg presenting as longer than the order as a result of a twisted pelvis.  It is this disparity in leg length that often contributes to knee and hip problems, especially during long hikes or runs.  To help balance the adrenals and with them, the muscles supporting the low back, apply Adrenal™ on the lower mid-back over the adrenal glands (one fist above the 12th rib on each side).

With oils such as Thyme, Rosemary, Manuka, Galbanum, and Frankincense comprised from bushes, herbs flowers and resins from trees, Adrenal™ helps you ground and balance on your hike. The formulation also includes key oils for pain such as Rosemary which is good for relieving back, muscle and joint pain and Thyme which is also an antispasmodic, good for joint, muscle and back pain.

Finally, Adrenal™ can help boost your energy levels during vigorous exercise.  Your adrenals help regulate your energy levels by secreting the hormones that regulate your energy production and storage. Your adrenal hormones are primarily designed to provide back-up energy in stressful situations.  All too often, pushing your body too hard or too fast during exercise can register as a stressful experience.  When your adrenals are taxed, either from mental, physical or emotional stress, it can trickle down to poor support of the muscles supporting your pelvis and lower back.

Applying Adrenal™ blend over the adrenal glands (low back, one fist length up from the 12th rib) can help to balance and support energy and reduce or avoid low back pain during workouts.  Read More about oils to enhance your workout HERE.

4. Parasympathetic™

The parasympathetic state reduces inflammation in your body, by triggering your vagus nerve to release anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters.

Inflammation slows down the signal to your muscles so they can’t fire at their full potential. A muscle’s strength is only as strong as the signal from your brain.  Every muscle cell is connected to your brain through your nervous system. You may know the feeling of brain fog, when thinking becomes fuzzy.  The same thing happens to our muscles when our brain is not firing at full speed. The signal becomes fuzzy.

Topically applying the Parasympathetic™ oil on your vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone) helps to calm inflammation and improve communication between your body and your brain to help improve exercise performance and modulate your inflammatory response.

Reducing brain inflammation means a faster brain.  An inflamed brain is also a slow brain, which sends delayed signals to muscles impacting your athletic performance.

In the parasympathetic state, your vagus nerve communicates with the rest of the body by releasing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which acts as a brake on inflammation in your body, inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory messengers. (Read more about Parasympathetic for Inflammation HERE)

Research has shown strong decrease in inflammatory symptoms from stimulating your vagus nerve to activate the parasympathetic state.  Research also shows that vagus nerve stimulation seems to restore the body’s natural balance. It reduces the over-production of the chemical messenger that causes chronic inflammation but does not affect healthy immune function, so the body can respond normally to infection. (Read More about Improving Parasympathetic Tone to Reduce Inflammation HERE).

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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Subscribe to Vibrant Blue Oils and receive weekly information on oils and how to use them. As a bonus, we’ll send out Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils to your inbox immediately!