Looking to Move More? Three Essential Oils to Support New Year's Resolutions to Exercise
The start of a new year brings inspiration for new beginnings, new habits, and to start the year on a postive note. Perhaps you make resolutions, create a vision board, or simply set goals for the year to come and essential oils can be an ally in supporting you.
Aroma is powerful and is linked to the brains emotional center. Smell can trigger memories, protect, support, warn, and comfort. When you smell an aroma it activates cells in the nasal passages that send signals directly to the brain. Aromatic molecules can also work their way through the lungs into the blood stream to affect the physiology of the body. Aroma can be used to support health and wellness by acting on the nervous system and throughout the body.
Essential oils can also offer support topically. They can be diluted and applied to the skin and due to their small size penetrate into the skin and bloodstream to support the body.
So how can this support wellness goals for the new year?
One of the top New Years resolutions is to exercise more. Essential oils can be used to support respiratory health, improve exercise performance, and even help post work out. Three of my favorites include Mentha x piperita or peppermint, Rosmarinus officinalis or Rosemary, and Juniperus communis or juniper berry essential oils. They are affordable and easy to find from sustainable organic or wildcrafted sources. Let's take a closer look at their benefits.
Peppermint (M. piperita) essential oil is one of my favorites for supporting exercise. Peppermint essential oil has been shown to support the respiratory system to open airways, improve stamina, and improve exercise performance. Peppermint is uplifting and also said to support motivation. It's a great choice to inhale to get one moving.
After a workout, peppermint can be diluted and applied topically to ease muscle and joint aches, offering analgesic, antispasmodic, and cooling properties. It's rich in menthol, which is an ingredient found in many respiratory support and muscle soothing blends. You can add it to an inhaler or diffuser blend or a post-workout massage oil or cream to enjoy its benefits (see below for recipe ideas).
Rosmarinus officinalis or Rosemary essential oil is another great choice. It supports focus, opens airways, and is also an excellent choice for muscle soothing blends. And if your goal is to improve in sports that involve focus it can be a great choice. In addition to being a great choice to support exercise goals it's helpful in supporting improved study and work performance.
While its chemistry can vary significantly from batch to batch it's often rich in camphor, alpha-pinene, 1,8 cineole, and camphene. These aromatic compounds are responsible for rosemary's uplifting effects on focus and respiration, as well as its muscle soothing benefits.
Juniper berry (J. communis) essential oil is excellent choice to support healthy circulation and a great choice for muscle and joint soothing blends post workout. It also said to help move stagnant energy and spark inspiration. Not everyone enjoys the aroma, but it can be tucked away in blends where it can work without an overwhelming scent. It's rich in alpha-pinene, beta-myrcene, and d-limonene which contribute to its benefits.
The beauty of essential oils is that they can support exercise before, during, and after. Inhaler and diffuser blends can inspire, open the airways, improve exercise performance and focus. And when starting a new exercise program joint and muscle aches can often sidetrack our efforts. While it's important to listen to our body, joint and muscle aches do happen. Muscles need to be challenged to grow and strengthen and so we feel the after effects of exercise.
So how can you put these essential oils to work for you? Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Let's get Going Exercise Inhaler:
Peppermint essential oil has been shown to improve exercise performance so whether you are looking to move better and faster or just get going peppermint is an excellent choice. Peppermint pairs well with orange and rosemary to create an uplifting blend that will certainly get you going.
Inhalers are like personal diffusers that are easy to tuck in a purse, pocket, or gym bag. Plus they are reusable and can last for several weeks to months depending on use, making them very economical and conciensious use of essential oils.
Try this blend to help support your morning exercise routine or as a post work pick me up to get you geared up for an after work workout. It also makes a great mid-day pick me up during the work day.
One aroma inhaler
5 drops Citrus sinensis (orange) essential oil
5 drops Mentha piperita (peppermint) essential oil
5 drops Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oil
Add orange, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils to an organic cotton wick or use a small dish to mix oils and tweezers to soak the oils into the cotton. Place the wick in the plastic or metal housing and seal.
You can adjust the oil ratios to suit your aromatic preference.
<<To learn more about how to create an aroma inhaler check out this video>>
To use: Uncap and breath the aroma before and during exercise.
Going the Distance Inhaler:
To support longer races, all day events, or even to support a long work day try this inhaler blend to go the distance.
8 drops Citrus sinensis (orange) essential oil
3 drops Mentha piperita (peppermint) essential oil
1 drop Syzygium aromaticum (clove bud) essential oil
3 drops Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oil
Add orange, peppermint, clove bud, and rosemary essential oils to an organic cotton wick or use a small dish to mix oils and tweezers to soak the oils into the cotton. Place the wick in the plastic or metal housing and seal.
You can adjust the oil ratios to suit your aromatic preference. Clove bud oil can be irritating to mucus membranes so only a drop or two is recommended.
To use: Uncap and breath the aroma before and during endurance training, race, or excursion for support. Use appropriate cautions with rosemary, clove, and peppermint essential oils.
Post Work-Out Massage Oil Blend:
Recovery is an important part of any exercise program. After exercise the body needs time to repair and strengthen. Essential oils can help support circulation and offer anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties to ease muscle and joint aches and keep you moving. Rosemary, juniper berry, and peppermint are some of my favorites choices for massage oils and creams. Here is a simple blend to keep you moving and grooving.
4 oz jojoba oil or carrier oil
20 drops Mentha piperita (peppermint) essential oil
20 drops Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oil
5 drops Juniperus communis (juniper berry) essential oil
4 oz PET or glass bottle with cap
Add the essential oils to the bottle and top off with jojoba oil. Cap and gently shake the bottle to combine the carrier and essential oils.
To use: Pour a small amount of massage oil into your hands and rub into sore areas as needed. This blend can also be used prior to exercise to improve circulation. If you have sensitive skin be sure to conduct a patch test before using.
If you're interested in some of the research behind how essential oils support athletic performance be sure to check out this post on using essential oils to support the respiratory system and exercise performance previously published in AromaCulture Magazine (Click here)
Have you used essential oils to support your exercise routine? Please share your thoughts. And if you have any questions you can contact Tricia. I hope these tips and recipes were helpful and you keep your resolutions to exercise throughout 2022 and beyond.
Citrus sinensis (orange), Mentha piperita (peppermint), Syzygium aromaticum (clove bud), Juniperus communis (juniper berry) and Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oils each have a dermal usage limit, age appropriate usage guideline, and safe usage guidelines. Improper dosing could lead to sensitization reactions or burning/blistering of the skin.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and peppermint (Mentha x piperita) should be used with caution around children and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) with caution around those with epilepsy. If in doubt when using essential oils consult a certified or clinical aromatherapist or in the least consult a reliable book or website.