Ashwagandha has many uses including improving mental and sexual health.  Ashwagandha uses on the body and mind are even more noticeable in the physical performance of athletes. There are at least 6 profound effects of ashwagandha on sports-related performance.  Being a natural product, ashwagandha uses are not associated with significant side effects.

Improves the internal response to stress

Adaptogen plants such as ashwagandha enhance the way we adapt to stress. The sources of stress vary widely from physical to psychological. Stress is more than feeling bad when things go wrong.  Stress is an entire body reaction to increasing demands from the outside. A disease could be causing your body to up its energy demands.  You could be fatigued from the stress of a marathon or soccer match.  Ashwagandha improves your bodies ability to cope with such instances.

Whether you are running on race, increasing the loads for your weightlifting routine, or tackling another player on the field, your body is in high levels of stress. What your body needs at that moment is to maintain the internal equilibrium without draining your energy. Ashwagandha use reduces the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone by almost 30%, and by doing that improves the way you adapt to physical strain, even if you don’t realize you’re under stress.

Boosts concentration and focus

Ashwagandha uses stretch far and wide.  Ashwagandha is known to improve mental health and cognitive function.  Older adults who are suffering from diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s may benefit from the many ashwagandha uses. Because it has a potential to increase levels of dopamine in the brain, Ashwagandha can treat chronic stress, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Ashwagandha can also reconstruct the connection between brain cells, and repair cell damage.

Ashwagandha usually does not cause sedation or drowsiness. Athletes who want to improve focus in the gym or during training, can benefit without worrying about it affecting focus. It will improve the way you think, reduce your reaction time, and keep you concentrated on your sport-specific activities. Since ashwagandha increases the levels of connections between neurons, it will most probably help you creating strategies and solving problems within the field.

Increases your stamina

This powerful adaptogen improves the way we use our internal resources for success. Ashwagandha has been linked with two aspects that may appear to be the same: reducing fatigue and increasing stamina.

Patients suffering from sexual dysfunction may benefit from ashwagandha supplementation.  The same way ashwagandha increases libido, it has revitalizing properties to improve your stamina in sports as well. It does not provide the immediate surge of energy you would experience with coffee, but instead a sustainable type lasting for a longer time.

There are more benefits of ashwagandha when it comes to improving stamina.  Ashwagandha can reduce the chance of experiencing adrenal fatigue. When you are under stress, your body releases high amounts of cortisol and adrenaline. Chronic tiredness, constant fatigue, and insomnia can all be a result of prolonged cortisol increase. The longer your exercise sessions are, the higher your chance to experience a rise in cortisol and adrenaline. Ashwagandha brings back the internal harmony you need to keep working out despite this common issue.

Reduces the recovery time

Ashwagandha can greatly improve the way our bodies use energy.  In all team sports, the recovery time between bouts of exercise is essential for the win. It takes a lot of training to increase the levels of stored glycogen in our muscles, speeds up our metabolism, and make the body more efficient with energy. However, there’s something nobody can train: the hormonal response to sustained physical activity.

By reducing our circulating levels of cortisol, ashwagandha improves the way our body uses energy and controls the effect of psychological exhaustion.  Your recovery time will be greatly reduced by keeping your levels of stress under control. You will probably experience a reduction in the resting intervals between sets, and a complete recovery before going back to the field for the second half.

Preserves muscle mass

Another impressive effect of ashwagandha, especially for those who are trying to increase their muscle mass, is related to prevention of muscle loss. The process in which molecules are broken down to create energy is called catabolism.  Unfortunately, one of those molecules is our muscle tissue. The stress hormone, cortisol, increases the rate of catabolism and may potentially cause muscle loss in the long run. This is why many bodybuilders fear cardio and prolonged intense aerobic exercise.

By reducing the circulating levels of cortisol, ashwagandha improves muscle gain as well by preserving muscle tissue and preventing catabolism. As a result, studies report how people who take ashwagandha supplements increase their strength and muscle growth by almost 20%, which speeds up their metabolism and makes it easier to reduce body fat.

Related: How Sleep Affects Muscle Growth and Fat Loss

Enhances your cardiovascular response

As you can see, all of the Ashwagandha uses for athletes are deeply involved with each other, and this is particularly true when it comes to cardiovascular response to exercise. According to studies on athletes, ashwagandha improves the efficiency of our heart and arteries during intense exercise.

There’s a parameter when measuring cardio-respiratory response called maximum oxygen consumption. It is basically how much oxygen we are taking and effectively delivering to our body, including our muscles, to perform any type of physical activity.  Studies show that taking ashwagandha increases the maximum oxygen consumption near 15%, which also explains the reason why we feel more energetic. This is especially good news for anyone having cardiovascular problems, and for any athlete who wants to improve physical performance.