Five Steps to Increased Stamina

Stamina describes the strength and energy which allows you to sustain a physical or mental effort for a long period. By increasing your stamina, you are able to endure discomfort and stress when carrying out an activity or during your workout. Increasing stamina can also help you reduce feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. High levels of stamina allows you to perform your daily activities at a much higher level and using less energy.

If you want to increase your stamina, the following tips may be useful:

1. Exercise

Although exercise may actually be the last thing which is on your mind when you feel as if you don't have any energy, consistently exercising can help you build up your stamina. A study from 2017 found that participants who were suffering from work-related fatigue were able to improve their energy levels after completing six weeks of exercise training. Results showed improved ability to work, better sleep quality, and better cognitive functioning (1).

If you'd like to build up your muscle endurance, you should limit the recovery time you allow yourself between sets to somewhere between 30 to 90 seconds. You can also reduce the weights you use by having less resistance and more repetition. By this, and by resting for short intervals only, you have a better chance of building up your endurance. Also keep in mind that frequency and duration of workouts are also important, so aim to do three to five workouts a week for at least twenty minutes (2).

2. Yoga and meditation

Both yoga and meditation have been shown to increase stamina and an individual's ability to handle stress. A 2016 study which examined 27 medical students asked participants to attend a yoga and meditation class for six weeks. Results indicated that participants had significant improvements in their stress levels and overall wellbeing. Participants also reported higher levels of endurance and less feeling of fatigue (3).

Maintaining a balance is important. If you train every day, you'll find that it's possible that your performance is being adversely affected. Opting for lighter exercises and meditation along with regular intensive workouts are great steps to take towards having more stamina (2).

3. Music

Music is understood to increase cardiac efficiency. A study of 30 participants found that participants had a lowered heart rate when they listened to the music of their choice during exercise. Participants were also able to use less effort when exercising and listening to music as opposed to when they exercised without any music (4).

4. Caffeine

A study from 2017 of nine male swimmers found that when participants were offered a 3mg dose of caffeine up to one hour before their freestyle sprints, they improved their sprint time without increasing their heart rates at all. Caffeine is understood to give you an energy boost, especially on those days when you are feeling too fatigued to exercise (5). You could use a caffeine boost on days that you wish to increase the intensity of your workout. It is recommended that you complete short interval workouts at a sprint pace to accomplish some increased energy. These can include running, rowing, biking or other exercises which you can do at home, such as burpees, squats, and push-ups. You'll know when you have increased the intensity when you're feeling out of breath and get that good burning sensation in the muscles you are working! (2)

However, keep in mind you should not rely on caffeine too much. This is because it is possible to build up tolerance levels. Also, try to stay away from caffeinated foods and drinks which are full of sugar and artificial flavourings.

5. Ashwagandha

This is a herb which is used for maintaining overall health and vitality. Ashwagandha is also able to boost energy levels and cognitive functioning and reduce feelings of stress. A study from 2015 found that when 50 athletic adults took 200mg capsules of Ashwagandha for three months, they were able to increase their cardiorespiratory endurance along with their overall quality of life, as opposed to those who were in the control group (6).

When you are trying to increase your energy levels, keep in mind that it is perfectly natural to feel energy slumps. Remain realistic with your expectations as you cannot always be operating at your maximum potential. You need to listen to your body and take rest when and as required to avoid pushing yourself towards exhaustion.

If you think that you have been making all the appropriate changes to increase your overall stamina, and still are not achieving any results, speak to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to help you determine whether you have any underlying health conditions which are responsible for your performance. Try and keep your focus on your end goal of improved overall wellbeing!

Join the Challenge And Receive Great Group Support

Want to find out what is and isn't working for others who are trying to build stamina. Join Max's Challenge or Maxine's Challenge today and see how group support will motivate you to achieve your goals.

Sources

1. Exercise to reduce work-related fatigue among employees: a randomized controlled trial
2. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/5-ways-to-boost-your-stamina#1
3. Medical students' stress levels and sense of well being after six weeks of yoga and meditation
4. Beneficial effect of preferential music on exercise induced changes in heart rate variability
5. Caffeine Ingestion Improves Repeated Freestyle Sprints in Elite Male Swimmers
6. Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults