It’s simple: the more stamina you have, the longer you’ll be able to run.
But that’s not the only reason to focus on endurance. It’s also the key to long-term physical health. Those with more stamina are able to maintain an active exercise regimen, and they are able to stay in shaper longer. A healthy heart and circulatory system means that more oxygen is flowing throughout the body, feeding muscles and other soft tissue structures and allowing the athlete to meet his or her optimal potential.
Exercise, in the 1960s, turned largely away from a focus on beefing up and more towards cardiovascular and aerobic training. This, along with a greater emphasis on healthier eating habits, brought much benefit to America’s fitness in general. Today’s exercising trends aim in the direction of cross-training, which offers athletes a little (or a lot) of both aerobic and anaerobic benefit.
Cross-training programs feature a mélange of exercises, some meant to strengthen the muscles, some directed at cardiovascular fitness. Modern professional athletes now swear by these programs and cross-training platforms have become commonly employed across the continuum of sports, both professional and non-professional.
Triathlon and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) competitors have taken this platform to its nth degree and some of these athletes adhere to training programs so arduous they boggle the mind. The idea is that any athlete can benefit from a well-rounded, vigorous workout. The MMA workout has gained tremendous popularity. It is grueling but, as they say, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you leaner and meaner”. The public has picked up on these programs and, as a result, even weekend warriors are in better shape than ever.
Here are some exercises to help you build your stamina, so you can run longer!
If you have access to a pool, you really cannot do much better than swimming, which works virtually every muscle group, gets your heart beating and your lungs heaving. Triathletes often describe their swim exercises as the most demanding of their tripartite training. Because of water’s mitigating effects on gravity, this form of exercise is the least likely to cause injury. Joints and bones are spared the repetitive, jarring jolts that come with running and high-impact aerobic exercise. It is also an excellent way to control one’s weight.
Have access to a local, well-equipped gym? Treadmills, Stairmasters, rowing and cross country skiing simulators, spinning machines, you name it, are all right there at your disposal. Science has gotten so good at determining what a body needs to be at its optimum and these machines focus right in on the area the user wants to work on.
Devices & Systems
Newer technology systems such as TRX and Inkaflexx training have become very popular with those wishing to gain endurance as well as toning. These systems offer a very comprehensive approach to exercise. Through this type of “suspension training,” all muscle groups can be worked and cardio and endurance training is also realized, depending upon the level of intensity of the workout. These systems feature lower impact programs, which, again, can cut down on injuries to joints, bones and muscles.
About the thorniest issue in the discussion of endurance training is concerned with which program best brings the individual to his or her peak performance level. There’s a whole host of endurance training programs and each one is a bit different from the other. Long Slow Distance Training, for example, focuses on running for 30 minutes to 2 hours with the athlete’s heart rate at about 80 percent of maximum. HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training does just the opposite, employing short intervals of maximum intensity exercise interspersed with lengthier stretches of low-to-moderate intensity exercise. Either way, you’re going to get in shape. It’s all a matter of which program best fits your style.
Building stamina and endurance needn’t be a chore. If you do things right, you just may enjoy yourself in the process!