What Is Stamina: Definition, Tips, How to Improve (2023)

If you had to choose one—and only one—component of fitness to improve, you may not consider your stamina. Many people focus on strength, endurance, or speed, all of which are worthwhile goals to chase.However, one under-appreciated fitness factor combines multiple components of fitness into one and that is stamina.

If you want the most bang for your fitness buck, consider working to improve stamina. Stamina is the underlying factor for increasing performance in cardiovascular and strength-building pursuits. Below, read more on what stamina is and how to increase it.

What Is Stamina?

Stamina is defined as “the ability to sustain the prolonged physical or mental effort,” according to Oxford Dictionary. What this means in practical terms is that good stamina allows you to:

  • Run faster for longer distances
  • Lift heavier weights for more reps
  • Take more prolonged, more strenuous hikes
  • Push through perceived pain, discomfort, and fatigue
  • Perform daily activities with high energy levels

The better your stamina, the more efficient you become at just about everything, mentally and physically.

Should I Improve My Distance or Speed?

How Stamina Relates to Fitness

Stamina is the underlying factor behind improving other fitness goals. Improving your stamina will enable you to push longer and harder during endurance exercise, allows you to powerfully lift weights during strength training, and helps you move faster without tiring.

Endurance

People often use the words “stamina” and “endurance” interchangeably, and while the two terms are similar, they aren’t the same. Endurance is “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way,” There are two types of endurance related to fitness: cardiovascular and muscular.

Cardiovascular endurance refers to the ability of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to support rhythmic exercises such as swimming, cycling, and running. Muscular endurance refers to the ability of your muscles to sustain repetitive movements under a given load, such as during weightlifting or hiking.Both types of endurance are essential and represent a stamina component.

Strength

“Strength” has lots of different definitions, but regarding fitness, it essentially defines how much weight you can lift. Powerful people can lift heavier weights and lighter weights for many reps. People with less strength can’t lift as much and may not be able to lift as many reps.

Strength training contributes to your stamina because it conditions your body to sustain movement under heavy loads. Boosting your stamina, in turn, helps improve your strength training by removing a lack of stamina as a limiting factor to how many reps you can do or how powerfully you can move the weight.

Improving your strength helps endurance-focused exercises because the stronger your muscles, the better they can handle repetitive movements.

What Is Strength?

Speed

Speed refers to how fast or slow you move while walking, running, swimming, or performing other cardiovascular exercises. Genetics may influence speed more than strength and endurance, although you can improve your speed with hard work just like you can improve any other part of your fitness.

(Video) TOP 5 SECRETS TO BUILDING STAMINA - HOW TO BUILD STAMINA - IMPROVE YOUR ENDURANCE

Stamina refers to your ability to sustain a given effort. Stamina is less of a function of speed, but speed certainly still plays a role. You'll be able to move faster for longer if you improve your stamina.

How to Improve Your Stamina

The key concept here is to challenge yourself. If you’re trying to improve your stamina (or any aspect of your fitness), you’ll need to follow the “principle of progressive overload,” a physiological rule that explains how the body gets stronger, faster, and fitter.

To put it simply, the principle of progressive overload says that you won’t improve in any capacity if you keep doing the same workouts at the same intensity over and over again.

It would help if you changed something, be it frequency, intensity, volume, weight, distance, speed, or rest intervals.For example, if you can barbell squat 10 reps at 100 pounds, you should next try to squat 12 reps at 100 pounds or 10 reps at 105 pounds.

Minor tweaks like this lead to significant improvements over time.Here are 16 ways to change up your workout routine and induce improvements in your stamina.

Go for Long Walks

Here’s a simple way to improve stamina: Move your body for long periods. Going for long walks of 30 to 60 minutes is a phenomenal way to build endurance, especially for beginners. Even advanced exercisers can enjoy the stamina-boosting effects of long-distance walking if they amp up the speed and intensity.

30-Day Fitness Walking Quick Start Guide for Beginners

Add Running Intervals

If you don’t feel walking is enough to improve your stamina, try tossing in a few running intervals throughout your walk. Interval training is one of the best methods for improving overall fitness, at least in a time-efficient sense. Next time you head out for a walk, add a 30-second sprint every three or four minutes.

How to Do Sprints: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Increase Your Running Distance or Time

Go the distance for stamina. Because stamina combines endurance, speed, and strength, challenge yourself to maintain your usual running pace for a minute longer. When you can do that, add another minute. Your stamina should continue to improve this way for a while, although everyone has limits on how far and fast they can run.

Increase Distance Without Burnout

Run Hills and Stairs

If increasing your running distance or time doesn’t sound fun (we don’t blame you), vary the running instead. Adding hill runs to your routine can make a huge difference in your stamina if you live near hills or hiking trails. Alternatively, stairs and bleachers work, too. Running in an uphill manner challenges your lungs and legs alike.

(Video) IMPROVE YOUR STAMINA AND ENDURANCE

Benefits of Running Uphill

Try High-Volume Weightlifting

Studies show that volume is the number-one variable in resistance training that improves fitness. Volume refers to the total load you lift in a session, day, or week. It’s calculated by multiplying the weight by reps.

In general, continually increasing your volume benefits your fitness. For example, if you perform three sets of 10 squats at 100 pounds, find your total volume by multiplying three by 10 by 100. The total volume comes out to 3,000 pounds.

How Many Sets Should Be in Your Workout?

Practice Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercise is any exercise during which muscles fiber but don’t extend or contract. Planks and wall-sits are two good examples of isometric exercises. Incorporating isometric work into your fitness routine can teach your muscles to stay under stress for extended periods, improving stamina.

Isometric Training Is Crucial for Building Strength

Decrease Rest Intervals During Workouts

One surefire way to improve your stamina is to allow yourself less rest time (unless you’re lifting very heavy weights, in which case you should rest three to five minutes between sets for optimal strength gains).

Studies show that decreasing rest intervals while performing moderate- to high-intensity exercise increases physical performance and body composition. Shortening your rest interval forces you to perform more work in less time, which in theory, should support improvements in stamina.

Are High-Intensity Intervals or Endurance Workouts Better?

Try Cycling

Riding a bike in any fashion—mountain biking, road biking, or indoor cycling—can improve your stamina if you push the pace (and the terrain if you’re outside). Indoor cycling in particular is proven to increase aerobic capacity, a major contributor to stamina, as well as other health markers.

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Mountain biking may be more effective at increasing muscular endurance and power due to the increased and variable resistance. Outdoor cycling in general can boost cardiovascular stamina, improving fitness levels and reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease.

Symptoms You Should Expect After Indoor Cycling

Swap Cycling for Rowing

If you’re an avid cycler, you may want to add rowing to your workout rotation. Scientists have long hypothesized that rowing is a more effective workout than cycling because rowing recruits more muscle groups more intensely. Rowing seems to improve cardiovascular capacity more than cycling, so next time you have the opportunity to hop on an erg, go for it!

Have Dance Parties

Dancing is a phenomenal exercise that will leave your lungs and muscles burning—and it’s fun! Dancing may also require you to assume new positions and challenge your range of motion, improving your overall fitness.

Several scientific studies have shown dancing to significantly impact health and fitness, from better mobility and balance to improved cardiovascular endurance. Dance as exercise may also increase adherence for some people because the cost and transportation barriers to entry are low.

How Zumba Can Help You Dance Your Way to Fitness

Have More Sex

Fitness doesn't have to be so structured all the time. Other activities, like having sex, can improve your physical health, too. Sexual intercourse can be highly physically intensive and, as such, may improve your cardiovascular health and muscular endurance.

Somewhat surprisingly, scientists have researched this—as early as 1981, researchers speculated that sexual activity might increase physical performance. And in 2010, researchers concluded that intercourse results in various physiological health benefits, including pain relief properties, which could help you push through tough workouts later.

If nothing else, having sex won't negatively affect your physical performance, as is often believed. Feel free to use this advice to replace a workout with some time in the bedroom.

Play Sports

Most sports require complex skill sets that may be outside your comfort zone. If you’re used to lifting weights, running, or other relatively monotonous movements, swapping one workout weekly for a sports game is a great way to hone other physical skills. Again, destructuring your fitness routine could if counterintuitively, improve your stamina and fitness.

For instance, a soccer game includes sprinting, jogging, walking, cutting, kicking, dodging, and even throwing, depending on your position. Intermingling these different movements provides a fun and challenging way to improve stamina.

Listen to Music While Exercising

Everyone knows a good song can pump you up for your workout. Listening to music brings people joy and energy, and this remains true during exercise. Listening to upbeat music during your workout might boost your performance in a number of ways, from reducing your perception of fatigue, distracting you from the strain of your workout, and making exercise feel easier.

(Video) Two Tips to Improve Conditioning and Stamina for athletes.

Drink Caffeine Before Exercising

If you’re looking for a one-off way to improve your stamina, consuming a bit of caffeine before your workout might help. Studies show caffeine is a great pre-workout supplement because it can increase your energy, mood, and physical capacities. However, the effect seems more significant in men than women, and you should be careful not to become reliant on caffeine.

Should You Drink Coffee Before a Workout?

Add Meditation to Your Fitness Routine

Remember how we mentioned that “stamina” refers to physical and mental pursuits? This is where that tidbit of information comes in. Adding mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to your overall wellness routine might improve your mental stamina.

If you’re used to fast-paced, engaging workouts, mindfulness practices will challenge you to push through perceived boredom and handle stress, two factors that play a role in how long you can exercise at a near-maximal level.

A 2016 study in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that medical students reported improved mental stamina (less stress and improved patience and well-being) after six weeks of yoga and meditation.

How Anyone Can Learn to Meditate to Lose Weight

Don’t Forget to Rest and Recover

Finally, make sure you have recovery days scheduled into your workout routine. Contrary to popular belief, the actual act of exercising isn’t what improves your fitness—it’s the repair and rebuild phase that does.

Rest days are critical to your improvement over time. If you perform an intense workout every day, your body never gets the chance to recover. Thus it never has the opportunity to repair your muscles.

Athletes Can Always Grow to Reach Their Peak Performance

A Word From Verywell

While stamina is not a factor many people consider when committing to fitness goals, it is an essential component of fitness, boosting your performance in endurance, strength, and speed training. Including some additional stamina-increasing activities into your current routine will help improve your stamina and health. If you need help designing a plan to boost your stamina, seek the help of a personal trainer.

HIIT vs. Steady State Cardio

FAQs

What does improve stamina mean? ›

Having higher stamina means you'll be able to move more while using less energy. Endurance is necessary for almost any kind of physical activity, from a short run to an intense HIIT workout — even a romp between the sheets.

What is stamina in physical fitness? ›

Stamina is defined as the amount of time a muscle or muscle group can perform at or near maximum capacity, while endurance is defined as the amount of time a muscle group can perform a certain action.

What causes good stamina? ›

Exercise. Exercise can help a person improve their physical and mental stamina. People who exercise often feel more energized during both mental and physical tasks. One study showed that following a workout program led to lower levels of work-related fatigue.

How long does it take to improve stamina? ›

It can take 4 to 6 weeks to notice changes in your aerobic ability and for the actual training effect being felt. Likewise, the more experienced you are, the less you will “feel” the benefits from a long run since you aerobic system is already quite developed.

Why is my stamina not improving? ›

If you aren't eating healthy, nutritious foods, your body simply won't have what it needs to increase run farther and increase stamina. First of all, make sure you're eating enough. One of the things most runners love about running is that it burns A LOT of calories.

How can teens increase stamina? ›

Here are some possible exercises you can include in your circuit:
  1. Sit-ups.
  2. Squats.
  3. Jumping over hurdles.
  4. Shuttle runs.
  5. Leg lifts.
  6. Running with a medicine ball.
  7. Lunges.
  8. Jumping jacks.
Dec 27, 2016

What affects stamina? ›

Developing stamina and endurance requires good physical and mental health, physiological training, and proper amounts of rest. Respiratory problems including asthma, heart disease, weak muscles, brittle bones, and even certain medications can affect stamina.

How do you increase your stamina naturally? ›

Exercising, changing your diet, and taking supplements are all effective ways to increase your endurance. But the possibilities don't stop there. You may also find it helpful to: Limit alcohol intake beforehand.

Which foods increase stamina? ›

A: Ideally, ensure that you consume a combination of carbs and protein. Fruits like banana and apple, along with whole wheat bread, brown rice and whole oats, will go a long way in improving your stamina. In addition to these foods, you can also include nuts like almonds, figs, walnuts and peanuts in your diet.

What is an example of stamina? ›

Stamina is resistance to fatigue, hardship or illness. An example of stamina is when you can run a long marathon without tiring.

Is stamina a skill? ›

Endurance, Stamina, Strength and Flexibility are Trained skills. Meaning they are skills that provide a measurable organic change in the body. Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy are practiced skills.

Why is exercise important? ›

Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.

How do kids build stamina? ›

Here are some ways to improve a child's stamina.
  1. Perform calisthenics and other simple workout exercises with children. These can be done in just 10 to 15 minutes a day. ...
  2. Purchase basic exercise equipment for children. ...
  3. Take children outside to walk or participate in other activities. ...
  4. Provide healthy meals.
Aug 27, 2015

What exercise should I do? ›

We posed this question to four fitness experts and compiled a list of their favorites.
  1. Walking. Any exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, which strengthens the heart and burns calories. ...
  2. Interval training. ...
  3. Squats. ...
  4. Lunges. ...
  5. Push-ups. ...
  6. Abdominal Crunches. ...
  7. Bent-over Row.
Apr 15, 2022

How can I increase my stamina in 10 days? ›

Top 20 tips to increase stamina
  1. Remember to take things slow. Increasing stamina is not a process that can happen on spur of moment. ...
  2. Eat healthy. ...
  3. Make sure to include carbs. ...
  4. Start with things you love. ...
  5. Be regular with your work out. ...
  6. Limit your 'rest' time. ...
  7. However, take proper rest. ...
  8. Eat multiple times a day.
Jul 24, 2020

What is loss of stamina? ›

Lack of stamina is an inability to maintain or sustain prolonged stressful effort or activity.

Does diet improve stamina? ›

While certain foods in your diet can actually reduce stamina, healthy foods help to build up your stamina and increase your energy levels, especially if you're interested in sports and athletics. As a sportsperson, you need foods that are designed to not only give you energy but also keep you feeling full all day long.

What herb is good for stamina? ›

The 10 Best Herbs to Boost Energy and Focus
  • Ginseng. Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement, well known for its energy-boosting properties. ...
  • Sage. Research shows that sage (Salvia) may have impressive cognitive-enhancing effects in adults. ...
  • Guarana. ...
  • Bacopa monnieri. ...
  • Peppermint. ...
  • Rosemary. ...
  • Rhodiola rosea. ...
  • Ashwagandha.
Oct 5, 2020

Which foods increase stamina? ›

A: Ideally, ensure that you consume a combination of carbs and protein. Fruits like banana and apple, along with whole wheat bread, brown rice and whole oats, will go a long way in improving your stamina. In addition to these foods, you can also include nuts like almonds, figs, walnuts and peanuts in your diet.

How do you increase your stamina naturally? ›

Exercising, changing your diet, and taking supplements are all effective ways to increase your endurance. But the possibilities don't stop there. You may also find it helpful to: Limit alcohol intake beforehand.

How can I increase my stamina in 2 weeks? ›

How to Increase Stamina and Endurance for Running
  1. Stay Consistent. You build endurance by running as regularly as you can. ...
  2. Increase Your Mileage Gradually. ...
  3. Incorporate HIIT Into Your Training. ...
  4. Practice Plyometrics. ...
  5. Manage Your Stress. ...
  6. Run 800-Meter Intervals. ...
  7. Don't Skip Strength Training.
Dec 3, 2021

How do I run faster? ›

How to Run Faster
  1. Test Out a Quicker Pace. martin-dm / Getty Images. ...
  2. Run More Often. Tony Anderson / Getty Images. ...
  3. Work on Your Form. ...
  4. Count Your Strides. ...
  5. Develop Your Anaerobic Threshold. ...
  6. Do Speed Work. ...
  7. Practice Fartleks. ...
  8. Incorporate Hill Training.
Aug 10, 2022

Does water increase stamina? ›

Endurance Boost

One of the ways hydration affects your workout performance is by boosting endurance. Without adequate hydration, you'll feel sluggish and unable to keep up with your usual routines. That's because water helps transport essential carbs, proteins, fats, and other nutrients to all parts of your body.

Why is my stamina low? ›

Developing stamina and endurance requires good physical and mental health, physiological training, and proper amounts of rest. Respiratory problems including asthma, heart disease, weak muscles, brittle bones, and even certain medications can affect stamina.

What herb is good for stamina? ›

The 10 Best Herbs to Boost Energy and Focus
  • Ginseng. Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement, well known for its energy-boosting properties. ...
  • Sage. Research shows that sage (Salvia) may have impressive cognitive-enhancing effects in adults. ...
  • Guarana. ...
  • Bacopa monnieri. ...
  • Peppermint. ...
  • Rosemary. ...
  • Rhodiola rosea. ...
  • Ashwagandha.
Oct 5, 2020

Can I run everyday? ›

But is it OK to run every day? The simple answer is: No, you need at least one rest day a week to allow your muscles to recover. Plus, overtraining can lead to overuse injuries, stress and prolonged fatigue.

Who is faster a boy or a girl? ›

Boys run faster than girls in all running phases, and the span between genders increases after the age of 15 years.

How do you breathe when running? ›

The best way to breathe while running is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined. Breathing through both the mouth and the nose will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for maximum oxygen intake. It also allows you to expel carbon dioxide quickly.

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