The new year is the time for new beginnings, and for many of us, that means setting new goals like attending the gym regularly. Gone are the days of cramming as much Christmas food as possible into our mouths, and in its place is a new ambition to get fit and become a better version of ourselves. Like switching up that sugary snack for a delicious protein shake now and again (you can try The Fit Protein for that)!
Now, the idea of throwing yourself headfirst into a new gym routine is great – we are behind you 100% here, but more often than not tiredness sets in. Keeping up your stamina whilst working out can be difficult, especially after a little time out of your regular schedule. Do you catch yourself needing a breather on a regular basis? Do you feel winded even after a quick workout? Well, this is a sure indication that you need to improve your stamina! When focusing on goals, this one tends to go by the wayside, with strength, endurance, and speed taking its place. Yet, mighty stamina is important to ensure you get the most out of your fitness sessions whilst training harder and for longer durations. Don’t we all want to reap the most benefit possible? So, pick up your spirits and switch up your habits, we are here to help you gain energy…all it takes is small lifestyle changes.
What is stamina?
Defined in dictionary terms, stamina means ‘the ability to sustain prolonged physical and mental effort.’ To explain this further, stamina combines together both energy and strength – this small word allows you to perform mental and physical strain without getting fatigued. Physical stamina refers to the body’s ability, whilst mental stamina refers to the mind (surprise surprise). Believe it or not, both are needed whilst working out. It may be all well and good being physically ready, but when your mind is not in the best state then committing to a workout session could be difficult. Both work in unison with one another. Increasing the stamina you possess is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can help lower your blood pressure, and heart rate, and burn more fat. Win-win! Health benefits aside, stamina is also important for performance – not just at the gym, but in other sports and activities too! In general, stamina can ensure you:
- Run faster for longer distances
- Take more prolonged walks
- Lift heavier weights for more reps
- Push through pain, fatigue, and discomfort
- Perform daily activities with the highest energy levels
How to increase stamina?
Now, we have discussed the benefits of having great stamina, but how can you get your own to this optimised level? Overall, is it not that difficult – trust us. There are easy lifestyle changes that you can incorporate - your diet and what you consume can have an impact as well as which activities you partake in on a daily basis. First and foremost, you need to be ready to challenge yourself, and this is key. To improve your stamina, you will need to follow the ‘principle of progressive overload’. This physiological rule says that you won’t improve if you keep doing the same workouts at the same intensity repeatedly. You must switch it up and push yourself as this will be more beneficial in the long run. Isn’t it always the case that there is no pain without gain, right? This aside, let’s now divulge into our different tips to improve stamina.
- Improve your heart health
Interestingly enough, ensuring your heart health is increased will actually improve your stamina. During each workout get that blood pumping and increase your heart rate. When your heart rate is increased, the volume of blood pumped increases subsequently allowing it to be more efficient and flow faster. Therefore, exercising on a regular basis will in fact make your heart stronger and in return build your stamina and give you more energy – result!
- Go for long walks
Sometimes we just need some fresh air, and you will be happy to know that you can still improve your stamina in the great outdoors. Moving your body for long periods of time will build up your endurance. Even a 30-minute stroll can have fantastic benefits. So, when you just don’t feel like going to the gym, step outside and build that stamina through a brisk walk. To gain further results, increase both the speed and intensity of the walk.
- Practice isometric exercises
For those who are unclear on what isometric exercises are, these are particular exercises that don’t extend or contract muscle fibers. Wall sits and planks are good examples here. Improving stamina doesn’t have to mean high-intensity sessions, instead incorporating isometric work into your workout can teach your muscles to stay under stress for extended periods.
- Decrease rest intervals during workouts
We know we have mentioned this before – the dreaded rest breaks. But it must be said, resting less between reps, unless you are lifting very heavy weights, will improve your stamina. Reducing the number of times you rest between moderate to high-intensity sessions can actually increase body composition and physical performance. In general, you will work harder in less time which means you should also see results quicker too!
- Eat a balanced diet
Let’s get onto diet, and this one is a general rule of thumb for a healthy lifestyle. To ensure you sustain energy throughout workouts and activities, you should aim to consume a variety of whole foods like fruit, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats, whilst limiting processed foods and sugary snacks. It is worth noting here that carbohydrates are not your enemy. When it comes to exercise, eating carbs contributes to a balanced diet and will help your body to be fuelled for longer.
- Stay hydrated
Dehydration can cause many complications, including feeling tired, mental fatigue, and weakness. It has been said that keeping hydrated before, during, and after your session can reduce tiredness, improve performance, and as a result prevent workout-induced injuries. However, there is a flip side to this. Don’t drink too much water as this can lead to you feeling too full.
- Listen to music
Music is a mood booster – there’s something special about plugging in your headphones and listening to your favourite tune. This also extends to stamina. There has been a study that discovered the beneficial effect of music on exercise which discovered that participants had a lower heart rate whilst listening to music which means they were able to work out for longer without getting tired. In another study, it was found that participants who exercised with music exercised for longer than those who were not listening to music. How cool huh?
We hope this has helped with your road to better stamina…it is by no means easy and training for longer periods whilst saving as much energy as possible will take time. After all, nothing happens in an instant – it takes motivation and endurance to reap the results. But there’s no better time than the present right? All it takes is a few lifestyle changes and you’re on your way to a better you with bucketloads of extra stamina. Keep energised and stay focused…you’ve got this.