My Secret Weapon to Breathing Better and Sports Performance

We can all agree that breathing is important right? Have you ever gone for a run, lifted weights, taken a yoga class, and/or other physical activities and noticed your breathing patterns? Maybe you have even learned about different breathing patterns for different activities.

It’s easy to recognize that breathing is a key component to overall human function and performance. It’s a reflex humans are born with and it’s attached to our nervous system, which has an input and an output. If you have poor breathing patterns (input), you’ll have poor motor, muscle, nerve, or center that affects movements (output). Breathing plays a role in optimal nervous system function, proper motor function, relaxation, focus, and overall physiological efficiency. Hence, breathing being a key component to human performance.

I am a fitness coach/trainer as well as current athlete. I am going to put my athlete hat on for just a bit.

When it is time for me to compete and perform a physical task I often have several factors (in relation to breathing) I constantly need to overcome. Personally, I can experience things such as stress and nervousness (Which changes/tightens your breathing patterns). As well as, in the Winter I often battle with congestion in my nose/chest and in the Summer it is allergies. Yes, I practice breathing patterns and incorporate specific nutrition in my diet. But what else? I am a natural athlete. An inhaler is not even an option. Imagine, I am about to race and I only have a few minutes to go, what can I do/take along with my few deep breaths and mental mantras?

There is an answer. I am going to share you my secret weapon. Ready?

Megan Dovell - Breathing


It’s Peppermint Oil. I like to take a few drops of peppermint oil orally before I race.

In general, allergies and other respiratory problems can lead to congestion in the throat, nose, bronchi, and lungs. Peppermint has an antihistamine effect, combined with its cooling action of menthol that make it a useful decongestant. Peppermint also helps reduce irritation and acts as a natural bronchodilator by opening the airways, decreasing the shortness of breath. Lastly, Peppermint oil also has a ketone, which means it is able to dilute mucus. These are just some of the details on how peppermint oil helps me breathe better.

Like many other essential oils, peppermint can (I would say it’s a bit more subjective and harder to find as much scientific research) provide relief from stress and mental exhaustion due to its refreshing nature. It is also been said to be effective against anxiety and restlessness. Furthermore, it can stimulate mental activity, clears the mind, and increases focus on cognitive tasks.

Overall, I find that Peppermint Oil solves all my factors I constantly need to overcome in which breathing is related to. It’s also cheap, convenient and makes my breath smell good. Most of my teammates think I only take it for the fresh breath factor. Since it’s usefulness for breathing is relatively not known or used in the sporting realm I am in, I call it my secret weapon.

Lastly, I am not a doctor nor a scientist. I would encourage everyone to do their own research before making the decision to incorporate into their lifestyle.

Follow my journey on Instagram: @MegaDovell

Also, if you’re interested in specific peppermint oils I use, message me on my profile page.

~ Megan