Smelling nice gives energy
You probably recognise it: you're enjoying your workout, but after a while fatigue sets in. A pity, because you were enjoying yourself so much, but suddenly you have no energy left.
Why is that? And how do you make sure you can go on a bit longer? Did you know that a nice fragrance can help?
Say what? A longer and stronger workout due to smell? It's not that crazy... The smell of peppermint is beneficial for your memory and alertness. So at least a nice fragrance helps us between the ears. How about that leg muscles?
That makes more sense than you might think, because the fact that a serious workout drains our bodies is nothing new, but it also tires out our brains. We call this mental fatigue. Mental fatigue not only makes you less sharp, but also causes your physical performance to drop. Of course, we'd rather not have that!
Fatigue fighting reward during workout
This is because an increase in serotonin in the brain occurs during exercise. This little substance is linked to fatigue, as it causes sleepiness, lethargy, and loss of motivation. When you are mentally tired, your brain makes each subsequent workout or exercise, no matter how big or small, a little harder for you than it actually is for your body.
Fortunately, not only serotonin is released, but also dopamine. Dopamine may be familiar to you as the brain's happiness substance. It works like this: the reward system in the brain (for the brain scientists among us: the nucleus accumbens) is activated by a large amount of dopamine. Serotonin and dopamine interact with each other. A higher ratio of serotonin to dopamine causes feelings of fatigue while a low ratio actually leads to better performance through extra motivation and excitement.
Well, that sounds good: so we need to get our hands on more dopamine to combat our mental fatigue. But how do we do that?
Nice smells and good music
You may already have known that listening to music can provide an extra motivation boost during exercise: in fact, dopamine released in the process triggers positive feelings. But did you know that smelling a nice fragrance can have the same effect?
Research shows that after smelling a pleasant scent, a boost of dopamine is released, making you feel mentally fitter and fresher and - as we just learned - less tired. At the end of the day, smelling nice makes sure you can go on just a little bit longer and thus get more out of your workouts. Whether this is while running, yoga or powerlifting.
And don't blame our brains: nobody gets happy with the smell of sweaty armpits, do they? Then I'd soon be done with it too. A fresh peppermint, perfume or lavender scent is much more pleasing to our brains and thus to our sports performance.
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