Essential oils for exercise and fitness
I’ve recently been on a bit of an ‘improving my exercise’ health kick because I wanted to feel in better balance and improve my wellbeing, so I thought now would be a great time to share some of my top aromatherapy tips for improving your fitness form for summer and beyond.
There can be so many challenges to exercising and we often stop at the first hurdle because it seems like there’s a huge mountain to climb, but this is merely just a thought! Even a small amount of exercise can be beneficial to our wellbeing, if it’s more than we normally do; we don’t have to start big! Whether your challenges are mental, emotional, physical or spiritual (perhaps you just don’t love exercise!), then there are essential oils to help support you in overcoming these particular problems. We all have it within us to be balanced and whether exercise means running, going to the gym or doing something gentler, like yoga or walking, we are all able to put into practice some form of fitness.
However, this isn’t to say that we need to pressure ourselves into it because we want to look better or lose weight; it’s actually about following our bodies and listening to what is in our hearts. It’s not what’s on the outside that matters; it’s what’s on the inside. I teach and love yoga, and whilst I couldn’t run a marathon, my regular practice of yoga and walking keeps me happy and healthy in mind, body and soul. That’s because yoga is in my heart; it makes me happy! Give me a session of yoga mixed with my essential oils and I’m happy all-day long. So, even if you think you’re not into ‘fitness,’ why not try the following essential oils to help enhance your own beautiful truth, and support you in your fitness journey this Summer? We’ll help you get wherever it is you want to be!
Soul exploration: unsure which exercise is right for you?
Firstly, it’s great to know what particular type of exercise sets you alight! For me, as I say, it is yoga. Yoga is in my heart – I LOVE it! It makes me happy, I feel connected to myself and, when I’m doing it, it doesn’t feel like exercise, but it gets my heart pumping – physically, emotionally and spiritually! So, even if you don’t think ‘exercise’ is for you, there may well be a form for you that you aren’t even conscious of yet. Everybody is different, and there are so many options to explore!
If you’re unsure, you could try meditating on it, using searching essential oils, to find out what is truly in your heart. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to meditate to find it - you already have the answers within you! Just start trying different types of exercise; there are so many to choose from. Anything that gets you moving is a good start.
The following aromatherapy blend has a great mix of essential oils to help support you in your search for what you love, combining oils that are useful for enhanced confidence, spirituality, creativity, and connecting to your heart-centred, internal wisdom.
Soulful Wisdom Spritz: Add 15 drops Rose essential oil, 10 drops Myrrh and 5 drops Cedarwood into 100ml of Orange Flower (Neroli) Hydrolat and spritz into the room and around your being during a meditative session, or use throughout the day as you step into new experiences of fitness and exercise.
Essential oils to warm your muscles
A challenge when you begin is to always ensure that you warm your muscles up well enough before diving into exercise. There’s much research out there which suggests you should start off with some gentle stretches before you start any fitness regime – and essential oils can help support this too! Before you begin anything, you could use a warming massage lotion to prep your muscles!
Muscle Stretch & Warm-Up Lotion: Mix 2 drops Cinnamon, 2 drops Ginger and 2 drops Clove essential oil into 15ml of fragrance free Moisturising Lotion and apply this warming blend to legs and arm muscles before stretching.
Essential oils to keep you energised
One of the main challenges is having the energy to achieve for your fitness goals. Mainly, you need to make sure that you are keeping yourself balanced in other areas, such as nutrition and hydration, rest time, relaxation, and getting quality sleep. As long as you are keeping balanced, this should help you maintain the energy to exercise.
Having said this, there is always the odd struggle with feeling the occasional slump! Don’t worry though as there are some great essential oils to boost your energy levels if you’re feeling a bit sluggish!
Energising Diffuser Blend: Try this blend in an aromatherapy diffuser or candle burner prior to exercising: 3 drops Lemon, 2 drops Lime and 1 drop Rosemary. Or - if you want to take it with you - mix up to 3 drops in an Aromatherapy Inhaler and use this blend on the go.
Remember that there are also a few other things that can help – don’t forget your energising playlist! I love my yoga playlist and I use this and the above beautiful diffuser blend if I’m having a very Yang (strong) Vinyasa practice.
Essential oils for encouragement and focus
Another challenge I often face is having the encouragement and focus to keep going. This might be before you even start, or it might be that your motivation is waning as you are mid-way through.
You can explore this in the mindful meditative practice we discussed earlier, using the Soulful Wisdom Spritz – even journaling to help yourself explore why this might be (or not; sometimes we just ‘are’ demotivated without any real reason!). Or, you could use your journaling to set goals for yourself. Remember, exercise isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about moving forwards, evolving, finding what makes your heart happy, and being happy on the inside, as well as the outside. It’s about being healthy and balanced.
So, to aid encouragement and focus, try this beautiful aromatherapy blend:
Encouraging Focus Diffuser Blend: For clarity of mind, motivation and strength of will, use 2 drops Grapefruit, 2 drops Geranium and 2 drops Cedarwood in an aromatherapy diffuser or candle burner whilst you journal! Or, pop up to 3 total drops of this combination in an Aromatherapy Inhaler and just get moving!
Essential oils to build your confidence
Sometimes, the very thing that holds our focus back is confidence! You need to know that all you need is within. You are perfectly whole and capable to do whatever you like in life. So, if you’re feeling that you’re not capable of the type of fitness you want to do, then: this is a lie! You are capable of anything, let me tell you! Let me explain how life works… We are always operating in thought-in-the-moment; we see life through our own lens and it’s so tempting to believe whatever we think! But, sometimes we don’t see the truth because we are so clouded by our own thinking that we can’t get clarity. Often, particularly if we are experiencing anxiety, we are stuck in our thoughts and these thoughts may be negative or dark. But, they are just thoughts. Underneath them, we are still the innately whole, perfect being that we were born as. So, any thought otherwise – e.g. that you can’t possibly exercise – is merely just a thought!
This essential oil blend can help remind you of your own inner beauty; try relaxing in a lovely warm aromatic bath before you even contemplate exercise, to reconnect to that truthful inner perfection.
Inner Beauty Confidence Reminder Bath Blend: Mix 3 drops Patchouli, 2 drops Bergamot and 2 drops Cypress with half a cup of full fat milk or 15ml of fragrance free Bath Oil, and add to your bath water. Lie in the bath and breathe in for a count of 6, pause for 4, and exhale for 8. Repeat this for 10 minutes.
Once you’ve found your clarity, you can go and do any exercise you wish!
Complementing balance with yin: grounding back
As well as a strong Yang energetic mode of fitness (e.g. as I mentioned earlier with Yang yoga), it is so important to practice a Yin balancing element within your exercise regime. Yin and Yang equal ‘balance’ in the Chinese Taoism concept, with Yang representing the masculine, daytime, strong energy and Yin being the feminine, night-time, soft energy. Together, they are said to complete wholeness, being the starting point for change. So, if you’re looking to change your fitness routine, then what better way than to include this balance?
To help achieve this you could try doing gentle, passive Yin yoga stretching movements, post exercise, to help relax the body, mind and soul after your strong fitness practice – or you might do something else gentle and soft. Diffusing essential oils, post exercise, can help you come back to your inner stillness after the adrenaline and endorphin kick you will have experienced during your workout.
Whilst doing your yin practice – whatever that might be (it could even be reading a book to come down from the fast Yang pace) - why not use the following Yin Yoga blend to support your goals? This is especially great to end the day before bedtime!
Essential oils to fight post-workout fatigue
Another post-exercise challenge you might have, even if you can happily keep energised, is that you may feel fatigued. There are plenty of essential oils to help this, but my favourite is this aromatherapy bath blend which uses detoxing Himalayan Pink Salt, which can really help the muscles too!
Fatigue Fighting Bath Soak: To help overcome fatigue, dissolve 2 cups of Himalayan Pink Salt into 500ml of boiling water, and add 4 drops Lavender, 4 drops Geranium and 4 drops Sweet Orange. Run a warm bath and close all the doors and windows so the steam can’t escape. Switch off the phone so you can relax, and add your bath salt blend to the water, then lie back and relax after your hard work! Remember to inhale and exhale deeply as you lie there - as breathing can be a really beneficial technique for fighting fatigue!
Essential oils to ease muscle pain
Obviously, muscle pain is another area where essential oils can help! To put this into perspective, though, it is a normal thing to experience with fitness! I used to have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and for quite a while - until I’d had a good dose of holistic therapy - I was out-of-action. When I first started exercising again after my recovery, I used to panic that I had muscle pain; I forgot that this was normal. In fact, I remember going to Bali to do a month of yoga, and at the end of it, I actually climbed a mountain. I worried so much that I wouldn’t be able do it, that I almost didn’t! But, in the end, I made it to the top and saw the beautiful sunrise (right before a monkey stole my banana, but that’s another story)! So, remember: general aches and pains are always challenges of exercise – there’s no need to worry too much (unless your aches and pains are abnormal) because that takes up too much useful energy - and there are essential oils that can help!
Post Exercise Massage Oil for Aches & Pains: Add 2 drops Wild Marjoram essential oil, 2 drops Lavender and 2 drops Black Pepper to 15ml of Sweet Almond oil massage into the affected area – or across the whole body - in the direction towards the heart.
You can do it!
In my recovery from chronic illness, I was a little bit anxious to restart exercise, but now I do yoga every day and I can run (if I’m so inclined), dance, walk, play tennis, or whatever is in my heart to do. If I can do it, you can too!
My last point is that, just as in knowing which exercise you wish to embark upon, you also have the intuition as to which essential oils can support you on your fitness journey. Follow your nose, because it knows what you need. Enjoy blending, and happy exercising! And remember: practice from your heart and soul!
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist