Nancy B. Varghese
Have you ever wondered if, apart from ‘Sugar, spice, and everything nice’, Professor Utonium’s extra ingredient, ‘Chemical X’, was actually just a gigantic beaker full of magical stamina potion? How else do you explain the Powerpuff Girls being such an invincible fighting trio that literally never got tired?! I don’t know about you, but I would love to climb up three flights of steep stairs and not have my heart ricochet off the walls of my ribcage. And while I know we can’t all have Chemical X casually resting on the top shelves of our kitchen cabinets, here are some of the effective (and medically-approved) ways of increasing your stamina, that you can try.
As enthusiastic as you are, to become Wonder Woman’s crime-fighting compadre, everyone knows that the key to developing endurance and stamina is time. Take it easy the first couple of sessions and don’t jump straight to intense cardio, without giving your body time to adapt.
A steady pace is great for consistency in workouts, but if you’re looking to build endurance over time, look towards doing short intervals of exercises, may it be biking, burpees, push-ups, running at sprint pace. No matter the exercise, you’ll know if the intensity has been increased when you run out of breath and feel the burning sensation when your muscles are being worked!
Sweating during workouts can make your body lose a significant amount of sodium, and so it’s important that you don’t let the levels fall dangerously low, or an electrolyte imbalance in your body can make you dizzy and light-headed. This is when you can opt for a moderate amount of energy drinks that supply a healthy dose of electrolytes to replenish your body’s stock of the same.
In 2006, an article in the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research mentioned that less resistance, more repetitions and resting for 30 seconds, or less between exercises were optimal for building stamina. For muscle endurance, it helps to keep your recovery time anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds between sets. If you’re weightlifting, take the weights down a notch too, while you’re at it.
A short; but, effective burpee can go a long way in burning all those calories than taking long breaks between repetitive sets. Make sure you’re not only going all out one day per week but that you're doing three to five workouts weekly, each for 20-plus minutes, at least.
When you’re committed to doing just one kind of workout repeatedly, over time your body gets used to the intensity and pace you put into it and hence, becomes easier as you move on. To get a better understanding of what your endurance is like, switch up your workouts when you find it becoming easier than when you started off.
The human body is capable of the most amazing feats. All you need to do is challenge yourself every chance you get. For a good example of a compound exercise, try jumping pull-ups, a squat with an overhead press, or even lunges with bicep curls. All these workouts take two isolated exercises and combine them to give you the best burns!
Training hard is fantastic. But, training hard every day might eventually lower the intensity of your workout with each passing day. Take breaks between extreme gym sessions to do something not as strenuous, but workout anyway. A swim, a yoga class, or a steady jog every now and then is a good way to ensure you don’t drop the ball on your endurance training.
Exercising is futile if you don’t have your daily dose of nutrients helping the well-oiled machine in your body! Carbohydrates are just as important in your diet as minerals, fibers, high-quality trans fats, and proteins. Go all out with green and leafy vegetables, plenty of fruits, nuts that have omega-3 essential fatty acids (you can also opt for fish if that works for you!), whole grains that fill you with energy, and a healthy dose of protein to help your body build and repair muscles.
This has been reiterated in thousands of health articles over the interweb and still is the most common mistake committed by beginners who want to get in shape. When it’s a component that makes up 70% of the human body, it goes without saying that water is the most essential nutrient your body can get. It keeps your cells healthy, without which, they can start shrinking, leaving your muscles weak and worn out. So, now that you know, H-2-GO!
Perhaps the most effective way of them all - persevere. Your mind is your strongest asset, and the sooner you convince your mind that you can always walk that extra kilometre, swim that extra lap, and drop ten more push-ups, the faster you’ll be soaring towards your goal. And that’s a solemn promise.
Go get it, girl!
Images: Shutterstock, Giphy
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