Good athletic performance is important. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or an amateur yogi, stamina, strength and high energy levels are vital for optimising your workout.
That’s why ashwagandha is so exciting. This adaptogenic herb has been shown to boost endurance, focus and energy levels, making it the ideal supplement for those looking to naturally boost physical performance.
Ashwagandha and athletic performance
In its 4,000 year history as an ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha has been associated with many health benefits - from improved fertility to better concentration. But it is the plant’s ability to boost stamina and endurance that is one of its most exciting attributes.
As an adaptogenic plant, ashwagandha improves the body’s ability to adapt to stress, whether psychological or physiological. The result? This superfood can help you overcome and adapt to the physical strains involved in strenuous exercise, while also boosting recovery time.
Boost your cardio-respiratory response
Good cardiorespiratory fitness means that your body’s circulatory and respiratory systems are able to supply fuel and oxygen, during sustained physical activity. In other words, it takes a comparatively longer time to get out of breath during exercise. This will improve as you get fitter, but natural supplements will help speed up this process.
Enter ashwagandha. One three month study found that of the 49 healthy adults who were supplemented with either ashwagandha or a placebo twice daily, the former group reported the most improvement in their physical and psychological health. As well as this, tests showed that they experience up to a 13.6 percent increase in maximum oxygen consumption.
Focus the mind
To improve your athletic performance, you shouldn’t just focus on your body – caring for your mind is crucial too. Ashwagandha is known for its ability to focus and energize the mind; its adaptogenic properties can help the body adapt to psychological as well as physical stressors, as it lowers serum cortisol levels by up to 28 percent. This, in turn, boosts concentration and focus.
Boost your stamina
Stamina and strength are not the same thing. While muscle strength can help you lift heavier weights, stamina can keep you going at the gym for much longer. Luckily, ashwagandha has been shown to support both.
One particularly interesting study, on the effects of ashwaghanda supplementation on endurance, was carried out on 40 professional cyclists. After taking 500mg of ashwagandha capsules twice daily for eight weeks, each and every athlete reported significant improvement in stamina and endurance.
After all that, it may surprise you to hear that these are just some of the extraordinary health benefits of this adaptogenic superfood. As well as boosting athletic performance, more and more is being discovered about the far reaching effects of ashwagandha, from relieving your insomnia, to helping your thyroid. Have a read of our other ashwagandha blogs to find out more, or read our guide to learn how to start incorporating it into your diet today.