Athletes often try to shake up their exercise routine to enhance fitness and performance. They may buy the best clothing and gear, stick to a strict workout schedule, follow a precise diet, or take supplements to aid in muscle recovery. Given CBD’s rising popularity, it’s no wonder that so many athletes are asking about CBD too. Does it help? If so, when is the best time to take CBD for exercise? Let’s discuss.
CBD and Exercise: Does it Help?
Research about CBD and exercise is limited, but anecdotal evidence combined with preliminary studies suggest that CBD may improve exercise in many ways. For example, CBD may aid muscle recovery by reducing inflammation caused by tears in muscle tissue. It may also improve endurance by minimizing pain, lowering stress, and easing the nervousness that accompanies competition.
So, how does CBD help with exercise? Here’s what we know so far.
CBD for Pain and Inflammation
It’s common to experience muscle pain following a rigorous workout. Strenuous exercise, especially when the body isn’t used to it, can lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) caused by microscopic tears in the muscle. Though these tears heal over time to create stronger muscles, the initial pain can make it difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine.
Fortunately, CBD may ease muscle pain by reducing the inflammation caused by muscle tears. For example, research shows that CBD may help reduce intestinal inflammation and joint pain, though its direct impact on athletics remains to be seen.
Exercise and Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in exercise recovery. Sleep triggers the release of the Human Growth Hormone to help us build lean muscle mass and repair the stress that the body has endured during the day. And, while exercise can certainly help one sleep more soundly at night, those who experience exercise-induced muscle pain may find it difficult to rest well.
This brings us to our second benefit of combining CBD and exercise: better sleep. Research shows that CBD may help speed the onset of sleep and increase its duration without causing the consumer to feel groggy later. Hence, by taking CBD oil or CBD gelcaps before bed, athletes may indirectly improve recovery time and sleep better doing so.
CBD and Stress
Athletic performance, whether competitive or not, can cause a lot of stress for those involved. Unfortunately, excessive stress and worry can negatively impact athletes who may second-guess their performance. After all, it can be hard to perform at top capacity when your mind is telling you that you can’t do it.
Interestingly, CBD seems to calm a worried mind, which may inadvertently boost performance. In fact, research shows that CBD may help treat many anxiety-related discomforts, including those related to public speaking, panic, PTSD, and performance anxiety. Given that stress can impede performance, increase the risk of injury, and slow recovery time, ensuring that athletes remain as worry-free as possible is ideal. Combining CBD and exercise can help.
CBD’s Effect on Performance
CBD does not produce psychoactive side effects. Moreover, it does not affect cognition or thermoregulation, though its effects on cardiovascular function, metabolism, and food intake require further investigation. Generally speaking, CBD does not negatively impact performance. Though it may improve the body’s ability to recover, it does not directly affect athletic performance.
When to Take CBD for Exercise
There is some debate about the best time to take CBD for exercise. Some insist that it is best consumed before a workout to reduce stress and improve endurance, while others suggest that the best time to take CBD for exercise is during a cool-down period.
In fact, the best time to take CBD for exercise depends on the goal of the CBD. Those who wish to reduce performance-related anxiety may have better luck consuming CBD oil about 30 minutes before activity, whereas those who seek more speedy recovery might prefer to dose post-exercise. Finally, those who wish to improve sleep should take CBD 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime for best results.
The Best CBD Products for Exercise
CBD tinctures are a common choice among athletes who want quick, consistent doses and predictable effects. Alternatively, topical CBD recovery balms and warming or cooling roll-ons work well for targeted muscle pain relief. Finally, CBD bath balms are an excellent way to promote full-body muscle relaxation and easily wind down for the day. The more ways athletes consume CBD for exercise, the broader the benefits they stand to receive.
Final Thoughts About CBD and Exercise
Though research about CBD and exercise is lacking, anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD could help speed recovery, increase endurance, and minimize the stress associated with performance. As such, it’s no surprise that athletes are adding CBD to their exercise routines.
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What’s your experience with CBD and exercise? We’d love to hear about it.