Cooperative communication (CC) allows multiple nodes to simultaneously transmit the same packet to the receiver so that the combined signal at the receiver can be correctly decoded. Since the cooperative communication can reduce the transmission power and extend the transmission coverage, it has been considered in minimum energy routing protocols to reduce the total energy consumption. However, previous research on cooperative routing only focuses on minimizing the total energy consumption from the source node to the destination node, which may lead to the unbalanced energy distribution among nodes. In this paper, we aim to study the impact of cooperative routing on balancing the energy distribution among nodes. By introducing a new routing scheme which carefully selects cooperative relay nodes and assigns their transmission power, our cooperative routing method can balance the energy among neighboring nodes and maximize the remaining lifetime of the network. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed cooperative routing algorithm significantly balances the energy distribution and prolongs the lifetime of the network.