CBD and Sports: 6 Ways CBD Benefits Athletes and Fitness
Extreme sports athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies, both to a positive and negative effect. Whether it’s snowboarding or mountain biking, training puts your body through the stress that allows you to perform better. But, physical trauma and prolonged wear and tear can lead to pain and injuries. In search of a way to improve performance, speed up recovery, and deal with pain, many people are looking to CBD for answers.
So, What Exactly is CBD?
For anyone looking to improve their performance and find that extra edge, there’s a supplement on the market that provides unique benefits to athletes and fitness enthusiasts: CBD. CBD has gained massive momentum in recent times with athletes like Mike Tyson and Nate Diaz endorsing and promoting CBD use in sports.
CBD is more than just a buzz word in the wellness world; it has proven physical and mental benefits. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the many chemical compounds found in the cannabis Sativa plant. It’s a naturally occurring substance often used for pain relief and to encourage calm and relaxation. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another major compound in the cannabis plant, CBD is not psychoactive. What this means is that CBD doesn’t have the same psychoactive properties that THC does. You won’t feel things like euphoria with CBD.
CBD for Athletes: What Does it do in the Body?
Whether you’re a pro athlete, a weekend warrior, or a motocross enthusiast, rest, and recuperation is an essential part of fitness. Anyone who has trained too intensively will be all too familiar with feelings of tiredness, achiness, or even feel a little queasy. Many individuals reach for a couple of pain killers like Advil to soothe things over. CBD offers a more natural, potent, and less toxic way to manage inflammation and improve performance.
CBD is a cannabinoid. All cannabinoids produce effects in the body by attaching indirectly to receptors within the body, called CB1 and CB2. The human body can produce certain cannabinoids. External cannabinoids such as CBD can affect the body through triggering the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a biological system we all have that maintains balance in the body, including things like immune response, appetite, and metabolism.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a climber or love to surf, you know the incredible amount of training you have to put your body through to achieve the type of experience you want. Recovery, rest, and pain relief all play a huge role in athletic performance as well as general wellbeing.
6 CBD Benefits for Sports and Fitness
Although there’s a ton of information out there on CBD claims and benefits, it can feel a little overwhelming where to look. Learn more about how you could use CBD to improve your sports performance and overall health. 1. Speed Up Recovery
When you train, you push your body and break down muscle fibers so that you can grow back faster and stronger. But anyone who pushes their body knows that this comes with its own difficulties. If you go too hard, recovery can take you out of the game for days.
The physical stress you put your body through increases oxidative damage. When there’s too much oxidative damage, it can result in slow recovery and harm your performance. CBD may help to reduce oxidative stress, which could help athletes recover faster. 2. Promote Relaxation
Another way CBD may benefit recovery is by promoting muscle relaxation. After a grueling session, it’s common to experience cramps and soreness that can make even simple everyday tasks feel more difficult. Fortunately, CBD appears to be a potent relaxant. It’s thought that it promotes relaxation by influencing the part of the nervous system that calms the body.
Although research into CBD is relatively new, studies increasingly show that it can play an active role in aiding muscle recovery, both before and after a training session. By promoting relaxation, you can reduce muscle tension and spasms. 3. Reduce Inflammation and Pain
A bit of inflammation can be good for athletes and intensive training. It helps to encourage positive training adaptations. However, too much and prolonged inflammation in the body can hinder performance, slow down recovery, and lead to pain. Research suggests that CBD could be a promising treatment in reducing inflammation. This is especially useful for people training intensively and conditioning their bodies to the extreme.
One of the most common types of pain athletes experience is inflammatory pain. This happens when you have worked your muscles and body to the max. Commonly, over-the-counter drugs are used to treat inflammatory pain, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, long-term use of these types of medicines is associated with stroke, heart attacks, kidney damage, and more.
Researchers are starting to think that CBD could be a more natural, less toxic way of dealing with inflammatory pain. CBD looks to be as effective as standard anti-inflammatory drugswithout the side effects. 4. Improve Sleep Quality
Getting more high-quality sleep is one of the most effective ways to achieve greater training gains and push yourself further. Sleep tends to be the first thing to drop from our priorities when we’re busy. In a sleep-deprived world, hitting your recommended seven to nine hours can feel like a struggle. But, sleep is crucial and sets the foundation for your overall health.
To understand how CBD could improve sleep, let’s think about what causes a lack of sleep. Things like stress, anxiety, caffeine, and medication can all interrupt our sleep-wake cycle, leaving us tossing and turning at night. While research on CBD and sleep is still developing, it’s thought that CBD may improve sleep quality by treating the causes of insomnia like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Research published in 2019 looked into the effects of CBD on sleep and anxiety. The study looked at 72 participants who experienced either anxiety or sleep issues. It found that after taking CBD for one month, 79.2% experienced lower levels of anxiety, and 66.7% reported better sleep. 5. Balance Mood
CBD doesn’t just support your physical wellbeing but your mental health too. Everyone has those days when we’re feeling anxious or stressed. It can put us off leaving the house when the call of the couch is too appealing. This can really get in the way of staying active and doing the activities we love so much. Anxiety affects about 40 million U.S adults, and although it’s highly treatable, only a fraction of people tend to get help.
Research suggests that CBD may help with motivational disorders and even certain forms of anxiety. If you find that you experience pre-competition jitters or low mood affects your athletic performance, CBD may be able to provide relief and promote a more optimal, balanced mood. 6. Protect the Central Nervous System
The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord. It takes in information through our senses, processes it, and then triggers a reaction like moving your muscles or causing you to feel pain. When you overstimulate the body, say through training, the CNS becomes more active. Chronic overtraining and not listening to your body to take a break can result in central nervous system burnout, making you feel slower. The recovery process is the key to avoiding CNS fatigue.
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may help to prevent CNS fatigue by helping to balance neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. It may even help support a tired nervous system.
How Can I Use CBD to Boost My Performance and Recovery?
New CBD-containing products hit the shelves every week. So, what should you use? You can get CBD in multiple forms, including capsules, oil, or in pills. Some sports drinks have even started infusing them with CBD. Beyond CBD oils, there are also creams and lotions you can try out. How you ingest CBD can affect the speed in which you experience the effects. You need to decide if you want to rub it on for muscle relief or swallow it.
There is currently no standard recommended dose when it comes to CBD. This can make dosage a little tricky. As CBD products aren’t properly regulated, there can be some irregularities in the amount of CBD in different products. Ingesting CBD through capsules is one of the more precise ways to measure how much CBD you’re taking.
If you’re new to CBD, most brands recommend starting at a lower dose. Gradually, you can increase the amount depending on the effects you experience. Starting with 5-10mg is a good place to begin. It might not be perfect to start with, but through trial and error, you can figure out what works for you and your body.
As CBD is a subjective chemical, it can affect everyone differently. Therefore, the above dosage guidelines are more of a starting point. It’s something that you will work out along the way, but always start with the lowest dosage suggested on the product instructions.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, CBD could mark a significant turning point for how athletes recover from training and exercise. Sports like mountain biking and snowboarding require extensive training that puts your entire body under pressure. Whether you love to hit the trail at the weekends or just need a general boost, CBD can benefit your overall health and wellness.
We still have much more to learn about how CBD works and how we can utilize it to maximize recovery and performance. But, as you can see, athletes can potentially benefit immensely from CBD to not only improve their body but balance the mind and reduce stress too. Now that you know about the benefits of CBD, it’s time to see how it could transform your life.