How to Use Peppermint to Improve Your Fitness

Peppermint isn't just a flavor for your gum or toothpaste. Learn how peppermint can be used in fitness to improve your focus and performance.

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

Have you ever bitten into a potent piece of peppermint gum and felt a rush of mental energy or a boost in awareness or physical performance? Turns out, there may be something more to that feeling!

A recent study, “Instant effects of peppermint essential oil on the physiological parameters and exercise performance,” measured several fitness performance indicators (maximum isometric grip force, vertical and long jumps, inspiratory and expiratory volume from the lungs, visual and audio reaction times, blood pressure, heart rate, and breath rate) before, 5 minutes, and 1 hour after a single dose of an oral administration of peppermint essential oil.

The results: There was significant improvement in all of the variables after oral administration of peppermint essential oil. 

Since reading this study, I’ve been

  1. Trying a few drops of peppermint essential oil in my glass of pre-workout water.
  2. Munching on peppermint gum when I want a wakefulness effect.
  3. Using a peppermint lip balm rather than a flavor like coconut or cherry.

As with anything, I question how much of the results are based on a placebo effect, but I certainly notice a difference, especially with mental focus and awareness.

See also: Ask the Diva: Are Essential Oils Nutritious?

What do you think? Do you plan on trying some kind of peppermint flavor or oil in your next workout, or perhaps during a stressful, cognitively demanding day at work? If you have more questions about how to use peppermint for fitness or anything else head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy and ask your questions or join the conversation there!

Peppermint image courtesy of Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.