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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.

By
Ben Greenfield,

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.

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