You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to be concerned about your athletic performance. Stamina, energy levels and strength are all important to our overall health, whether or not you’re competing.
So what can we do to boost our performance at the gym? Well, taking a natural supplement like ashwagandha may be a good start. This adaptogenic herb has been shown to boost endurance, stamina and energy levels, making it the ideal botanical solution to improve physical performance and support faster recovery.
The Sanskrit word ‘ashwagandha’ gives us a clue to the energy-boosting effects of this ancient herb. Translated as ‘the smell of a horse’, the name reflects its ability to boost strength, stamina and focus – both mentally and physically.
And now, thanks to a surge in scientific research, there is growing evidence that ashwagandha really can help improve athletic performance, as well as improve the rate of recovery after strenuous exercise.
But how can such an ancient herb have such a big impact on performance? And what other fitness benefits can it offer?
As a powerful adaptogen, ashwagandha could increase an individual’s ability to adapt to environmental factors. On top of this, it helps reduce the impact of stress on the body.
The result? Ashwagandha supports your reaction to the physical stress involved in strenuous exercise, while also improving recovery time.
When you have good cardiorespiratory fitness, your body’s circulatory and respiratory systems are able to supply fuel and oxygen during sustained physical activity. Gradually intensifying your exercise regime will improve your cardiorespiratory response, but taking natural supplements like ashwagandha can help too.
In one study, researchers monitored a group of 49 healthy, active adults who were supplemented with either ashwagandha or a placebo twice daily. The herbal group demonstrated up to a 13.6 percent increase in maximum oxygen consumption, as well as reporting an improvement in their physical and psychological health.
If you’re looking to boost muscle strength, ashwagandha might be able to help. By increasing testosterone by as much as 15 percent, the adaptogen has been found to stimulate muscle growth and increase strength.
Most notably, body-builders taking the supplement have reported a 17.1 percent increase in arm muscle size, and a 16.1 percent reduction in average body fat.
Athletic performance isn’t all about the body; it’s also closely tied to the mind. The best athletes are mentally focused and in control. Unlike many other performance enhancers on the market, ashwagandha may actually be able to help your prepare cognitively for exercise too.
Thanks to its ability to lower serum cortisol levels by up to 28 percent, it’s been shown to improve concentration, calm and focus.
Ashwagandha can help your body prepare for and recover from exercise, but it can also help boost your performance while you’re at the gym. One particularly interesting study on the effects of ashwagandha for increasing endurance was performed on 40 professional cyclists who received 500 mg of ashwagandha capsules twice daily for eight weeks.
The results showed significant improvement in stamina and endurance for all the elite athletes.
More and more research is coming out suggesting that ashwagandha can make a real difference to our health.
If health and fitness are a big part of your life, it may well be worth adding this superfood supplement to your regular diet.
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