How Can CBD Benefit Sports Performance?
Regular exercise not only does wonders for our physical health, but our mental health too. Keep reading to find out just how important consistent physical activity is, and how CBD may be able to support an active lifestyle.
An active lifestyle does wonders for your health
Long ago, there was a common misconception that regular rest was the best way to overcome mild injuries and keep your body in good shape. That outlook has since been debunked, and there is a new approach—one that operates under the slogan of “movement is medicine”. Whether it is a bad back, tight muscles, or just a general lack of energy, the answer to many of these problems could be regular and consistent exercise.
Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon every weekend or try the insanity challenge after a long day at work. What it does mean is doing enough exercise to increase your heart rate for about half an hour. Aim to do that every day, and the benefits range from a reduction in the risk of heart attacks to better weight control, lower blood cholesterol levels, and equally essential improvements in energy and mood.
Exercise doesn’t have to be intensely physical to be beneficial
Now that we know regular exercise is all that's needed to keep the body and mind in good shape, it becomes less of a daunting prospect. Instead, everyday activities (with a few minor changes) can provide the recommended amount of exercise to get your heart rate up and keep your body in optimal condition. That could mean taking the dog for a longer walk (they will love it), playing with the grandkids for an afternoon (they will also love it), or taking the stairs rather than the lift at work (you will learn to love it).
A regular sport or hobby is also a fantastic way to make exercise fun and give yourself something to work toward. Not only will you benefit from the daily physical activity, but as you reach each goal, the sense of satisfaction can do wonders for your self-esteem and overall confidence.
When it comes to performance in sport, no matter the level, there are a few factors that influence how well we fair. The key to staying motivated, and ultimately achieving your goals, is to consider each of these factors and how they impact your fitness routine.
Measuring your performance in sport
Neuromuscular factors are the first significant influence. In simple terms, this means you are not going to be able to run a 10-minute mile if you do not have the muscle, cardiovascular performance, endurance, or flexibility to do so. To overcome neuromuscular factors, you will need to break down your end goal into smaller steps, and alongside a healthy diet and regular training, focus on the element you are lacking.
Another influence is our mental control and psychological factors. Included under this umbrella of factors are self-motivation, determination, and focus. Regular exercise supports us in strengthening all of these crucial elements. One of the most critical aspects of training is consistency. This means that even if it is raining, you should still take the dog out for an extra long walk. Or, if you train at the gym early in the morning, getting up even when it's cold and dark outside. Staying disciplined requires a significant amount of mental control, but the rewards of achieving the goals we set for ourselves quickly become the main focus.
Environmental factors are rarely under our control, but they are important to consider. A soaking wet football pitch or an unexpected heatwave during your weekly run are both classed as environmental factors. They usually add a new dimension to training and can make your regular exercise that little bit harder. For those who want to push their performance, they will purposefully train under these conditions to help improve their physical and mental conditioning. For those who approach exercise as an everyday, casual activity, it is still vital to persevere when conditions are harsh—the sense of achievement will be worth it physically and mentally.
Finally, we come to coaching and external support as a factor in sports performance. Getting motivated to go out for a run is significantly more comfortable if you have a partner, friend, or coach to help push you along. Exercise should be enjoyable, and if that means catching up on the latest family gossip while powerwalking with your relatives, who are we to judge?
The relationship between CBD and sports performance
If you have considered all the factors listed above, but are still struggling to reach your personal goals, it appears that CBD may be of some assistance. The effect of CBD and cannabinoids in general on inflammation is widely documented. Inflammation is a necessary reaction that supports the body in recovering and developing stronger muscles. And as many of us know, quick physical recovery is half the challenge when it comes to regular exercise. Interestingly, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances, which means Olympic athletes can now use the cannabinoid as an adjunct to their athletic regime before and after performing. Even if you're not one of the world's top discus throwers, you can still use CBD in a similar fashion.
CBD has also been shown to display anxiolytic effects in numerous preclinical studies, which has led researchers to consider its potential as a future treatment for anxiety disorders, including social anxiety. These conditions can be crippling when it comes to motivating yourself to get up and take part in physical activities. Researchers concluded that “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder”.
CBD is not going to provide an instant boost in the distance you can run, the maximum weight you can lift, or how flexible you are in yoga. However, it can support your body’s natural state of homeostasis, and keep your psychological systems in optimal condition. In combination with a targeted approach to the performance influencers listed above, you can feel more motivated, and aid your body’s ability to recover. As we already know, movement is medicine, and with a little bit of support from CBD, you can realise your goals and have fun, all while being active.