Sticking to an exercise program isn’t always easy. Do you ever feel like you are lacking motivation, especially first thing in the morning or after a hard day’s work? Before you skip your next fitness class or cardio blast, you may want to give essential oils a try.
Essential oils are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in seeds, bark, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. These oils give plants their fragrance, and protect the plants from insects and other threats, too. They seem to be all the rage now, but these oils have long been used for their benefits to human emotions, physical well-being and nutrition.
Here are five essential oils that can help boost your mood and kick your workout into high gear:
- Lemongrass ignites the senses and can help give you the burst of energy you need to get from couch to class. This essential oil is also said to support healthy weight management and a process known as thermogenesis, which helps with the production of heat in the body.
- Try this for: Hot yoga
- Tip: Rub a few drops on your inner wrist before class for an extra energizing pick-me-up.
- Peppermint can be the wake-up call you need for an early morning class. This essential oil will enliven you and can help boost your mood. It is also believed to support healthy breathing during exercise.
- Try this for: Spin® class
- Tip: Inhale prior to your workout for extra energy, and try rubbing a few drops on your wrist before heading to an early morning class.
- This essential oil is widely known to be soothing. A whiff of eucalyptus can support a sustained positive mood and energy throughout the day. This oil is also said to aid with recovery and ward off illness. If you feel the sniffles coming on or don’t feel quite yourself, eucalyptus might help.
- Try this for: Barre class or on your rest day
- Tip: Washing sweaty workout gear? Try adding a few drops to your dryer filter for added freshness and to sanitize before drying your load.
- Lemon essential oil can do many things, but did you know it can also quench your thirst? Add a drop or two to your water for a natural pre-exercise drink that will keep you hydrated throughout your workout. The burst of flavor and scent will drive you to drink more than you typically would—added bonus!
- Try this for: That long afternoon at work before a trip to the gym
- Tip: Fill your water bottle and stick it in the refrigerator overnight so you have a chilly, invigorating treat first thing in the morning.
- Marjoram is a key essential oil to post-workout recovery. This oil has calming and relaxing properties, which can work wonders on sore and tired muscles. Typically, marjoram is used for massage or in a warm bath to aid muscle recovery and repair.
- Try this for: After a race or workout-heavy week.
- Tip: Looking for quick muscle pain relief? Massage a few drops onto the desired area before (or after) your workout. You can even add a few drops to a warm Epsom salt bath for maximum recovery benefits.