How CBD Helps with Muscle Recovery for Athletes
Over the last few years, CBD has been gaining a lot of attention from the fitness community. And, for good reason, too, as people seem to always be looking for better ways to support their health and well-being—or for increasing the efficacy of their exercise regimens. From a beginner trying yoga for the first time to a pro athlete with decades of training, CBD can offer the body support, allowing you to train harder and recover faster.
To understand how CBD, or cannabidiol, helps with muscle recovery, we need to first look at the processes that the body undergoes during and after a workout routine. Whether from light jogging or heavy lifting, muscles are stressed through the act of exercise. This is a good thing, of course, because this stress ultimately makes our bodies stronger, healthier, and more resilient to physical injury—and boosts the immune system, too. To get to that point, however, our muscles have to be pushed hard as they literally break down with countless, microscopic tears.
Acute muscle soreness, or AMS, is the term used to describe that tight, tired, burning sensation in our muscles right in the middle of a hard workout. This soreness is common in weight lifting and is usually temporary, caused by short-term chemical changes in the muscle fibers. This is also why we have to take a couple minutes to rest in between sets, which allows the muscles to reset.
Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is the term used to describe that sore, stiff, aching feeling that follows a vigorous day of exercise. This type of soreness kicks in well after the workout is over and lasts for potentially several days. This is where the primary interest in muscle-support supplementation comes in to play: athletes want to alleviate that soreness and decrease the recovery time in order to feel better and get back to training again.
Fortunately, CBD boasts a variety of important properties that help support the body both during and after the workout. One of the most powerful benefits may come from its action as an anti-inflammatory. Because the soreness from exercising is a consequence of the micro-injuries sustained by the muscles, the body treats it like an injury. Of course, where there's an injury, inflammation will quickly follow, causing pain as well as slowing down recovery and healing. CBD can effectively promote a faster recovery, however, by reducing the severity of the body's inflammation response.
CBD also reduces muscle tension, allowing for both a harder workout and a gentler recovery period. Cortisol—the body's main stress hormone—temporarily increases focus and energy but, on the flip side, causes muscle tightness, increases pain sensitivity, and wreaks havoc on our well-being if elevated levels of the hormone are sustained in the body for too long. CBD appears to reduce blood cortisol levels thereby reducing some of the muscle tension and pain that can inhibit a workout and cause lingering discomfort.
Another important component of muscle recovery is sleep. In fact, the majority of the body's recovery and healing process occurs while we're asleep. This makes proper rest exceptionally important for athletes and anyone else pushing their bodies through regular exercise. By encouraging relaxation and reducing stress, CBD can also contribute to better sleep and therefore a shorter recovery.
Getting the most out of your workout is a respectable goal. Isn't it extra satisfying when something that's safe and natural comes along to help? Although the studies on CBD haven't amassed enough empirical data to claim it as some sort of holy grail, there is already enough scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the idea that CBD offers broad, well-tolerated support for human health. Increasingly, more athletes are turning to CBD as a safe supplement that can, in many cases, replace certain pharmaceutical drugs such as pain relievers—and can do so with fewer side effects. Whether rubbing CBD-infused lotion on your sore muscles or taking a daily tincture for whole-body support, CBD is likely to make your workouts more effective and make your recovery less painful, allowing you to get a little bit closer to reaching your ultimate fitness goals.