July 27, 2022
Do you ever wish you could last a little longer on the treadmill or stay more focused at work? Whether physical or mental, stamina is the ability to keep doing an activity for a long period. Stamina isn’t a part of fitness itself — it’s a result that comes from becoming more fit. Having strength and energy allows you to endure stress during an activity and reduces exhaustion so you can bounce back and perform at a higher level.
Whether your goal is to stay focused or run a longer distance, there are a few sure-fire ways to increase your stamina.
The first step to increased stamina is a literal one: get active! If you’re low on energy, it might be hard to get motivated for exercise, but regular physical activity is shown to provide more energy and even improve cognitive function.
As your bones and muscles strengthen (and you lose weight) from regular exercise, it becomes easier to sustain physical activity longer — a key aspect of physical stamina.
To get started, make the things you do each day more physical, like walking to work or taking the stairs whenever you can. Track your progress and schedule time in the gym or to get outside for some cardiovascular exercise.
Meditation helps you train your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. Doing this can help to reduce stress and increase concentration, both of which help increase your mental stamina. You can begin practicing meditation by finding a quiet space and focusing on your thoughts and relaxing. To amplify its impact, consider practices such as guided meditation, mantras, or transcendental meditation.
Your body gets its energy from the food and drinks you consume, so it should come as no surprise that your diet plays a critical role in determining your physical and mental stamina. Eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, and cutting out saturated fats and sugar, are all good places to start.
Try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Replace processed foods with plenty of fresh items in-season. Skip caffeinated beverages and instead drink plenty of water — you’ll miss the buzz at first but will eventually have much more energy.
It may seem odd to think about sleeping as a way to increase stamina, but the most elite athletes take their recovery time seriously. If you’re an adult, you should plan for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. The different phases of sleep provide energy for the following day, allow the heart and vascular system to rest, and release growth hormones to increase muscle mass.
Better sleep also helps you focus longer and can make managing stress easier — key aspects of mental stamina. And, as any athlete will tell you, good sleep is a foundation for physical performance.
To get the benefits of increased stamina through sleep, begin by setting a consistent sleep schedule. As you’re getting ready to drift off, make sure you rid yourself of distractions, including noises and lights.
It takes time to build stamina, so what’s most important is committing to the four strategies discussed in this article and making them a continued priority. Each day of exercise, mindfulness, healthy eating, and quality sleep will build on the one before, and will eventually help you achieve the levels of stamina you desire.