Improving endurance, or your ability to sustain a prolonged physical activity even when it’s difficult, is a primary goal of any training regimen. It leads to increased stamina, which is the ability to not get fatigued by a particular activity or just getting through the day.
Both are important markers of physical health, and stamina can apply to mental gymnastics as well. We’ll focus on the many ways you can build your physical endurance with these tips:
Push yourself consistently
The “overload principle” is the root of all efforts to improve endurance and stamina. It amounts to gradually increasing the volume and/or intensity of your workouts by small but consistent degrees as you improve your fitness level.
For aerobic exercise you’ll need to speed up your time for completing a specific distance or add to the time or distance spent on an exercise. With strength training it’s choosing heavier weights or increasing your reps.
Add higher-intensity intervals
High-intensity interval training or HIIT, where you’re working out at your top capacity in short, frequent bursts, is best done by those who have considerable experience under their belt, but anyone with a little conditioning can slip some bursts jogging into their walks or sprinting into their jogs.
Shortening your rest intervals while lifting weights or doing any kind of circuit training is another good way to ratchet up your intensity. However you do it, in most cases it will build up your endurance — but don’t forget about your rest days!
Take up a sport
If you’ve been doing the same kind of workout for a while, it can be beneficial to switch things up by playing a sport, even if your endurance is already improving. Most sports require a complex skillset and no “schedule” for when you’re going to have to use them. It’s the best way to break up the monotony that can set in with repetitive motion and exercise and can boost your stamina and your social life, too.
Crank up the music
Whether you’re wearing earbuds on the treadmill or dancing at a party or club, music can be a fabulous motivator during exercise that bolsters your endurance. Listening to buoyant music reduces feelings of fatigue by making your workout seem easier and distracting you from any strain you feel. If you love dancing more than distance running, look into Zumba or other rhythm-based aerobic programs.
Yoga and meditation
These are tied most directly to mental stamina, but they’re key to increasing your physical endurance, too. If you find yourself mentally walking away if your workout doesn’t constantly engage and energize you, meditative activities force you to slow way down and “train your brain” to focus on your intended activity, rather than whatever else your mind is on or is distracting you from the task. This helps you cope with stress and boredom, two mental states that can kill physical endurance.