Life & Style | Health

What’s the big deal about stamina?

We all have stamina in differing amounts. The idea is to have enough of it to enjoy life

  • Nathan Brown
  • Published: 07:00 April 11, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Getty Images/Pixland
  • Woman leaping
Image 1 of 2
12

Stamina is the physical and mental ability of a person to remain active for a long period of time. Physical stamina or endurance is improved and increased by aerobic and anaerobic exercise that increases the body’s capacity to use oxygen and carbohydrates. Mental stamina is about your ability to focus on an activity for long periods and is associated with concepts like motivation and will power. Improving your stamina is very important as often it marks the difference between achieving your goals or falling by the wayside – irrespective of what you are doing. Increasing your physical and mental stamina will result in less fatigue and lethargy, greater positivity and an increasing sense of achievement and productivity.

 

How to improve your mental stamina

 

Positive thinking

As long as you have the confidence in your own abilities, you can accomplish almost anything you set your mind on. Of course, you have heard this often but think about it - why is this belief still around? because it’s true. The power of positive thinking is real, and it is imagined. Isn’t that a lovely paradox? Try it for yourself. Replace the constant negative chatter of your mind with confidence-building positive thoughts and watch your mood gear shift from low to high. By doing this constantly, and making it a habit, there is greater chance of you accomplishing your goals – be it completing a marathon or finishing a deadline-bound project.

 

Visualisation

This is an old, and very effective technique, that’s been used by millions to achieve their goal. An old saying goes, as you think, so it will transpire. If you close your eyes and visualise yourself succeeding at a task, in all likelihood, you will succeed. This strategy is used by most athletes to improve their technique, handle stress and achieve their goals. They visualise breasting the tape with a flourish and it happens. Of course you need to be totally focused and concentrate on the image in your mind. Don’t be a ditherer. Pick the visual of what you most want to achieve every day, be it a goal or an action, and train your mind to focus completely on the it. If you are stressed, visualise a quiet, calm, soothing place and you sitting in it completely immsersed in tranquility. This will bring down your stress levels dramatically.

 

Be prepared

What happens when you don’t succeed? Sometimes, despite your best attempts, you can fail. It happens to the best of us. It happens despite your best efforts. True survivors handle success and failure with equanimity. Dealing with success is easy but only those who are mentally prepared all the time can face failure and not be defeated by it. When you walk away with lessons well learnt about failure, your attitude to success renews itself.

Meditate and relax

Stress is a constant companion for most of us, especially if we are involved in a goal-oriented task. Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques can help you handle debilitating stress and panic – be it prior to an athletic event or an all-important meeting. Breathing techniques, whereby you breathe into the bottom of your belly, and breathe out consciously, also helps the brain function better.

 

Sleep

When you get a good night’s sleep, not only does your mind get much-needed rest, your body also gets the chance to repair itself. Sufficient sleep improves reaction time and split second decision making.

 

Challenge

Shake up your routine and challenge your mind by taking up a new activity, reading challenging literature, taking up a new sport and playing games that require you to use your analysis skills. These new activities will strengthen your mental skills and improve your ability to handle new situations.

 

How to improve your physical stamina

 

Cardiovascular exercises

Cardiovascular training improves your stamina and prevents your body from tiring too soon. Cardio exercises include activities like swimming, running, cycling and using machines like the elliptical or rowing machine in the gym. High- Impact group exercise classes such as Les Mills Body Attack, Les Mills Body Combat, RPM, Fitness First’s own TUFF and X-Fit are all high energy classes provided with fun routines and great music to work out to. To see a marked improvement in your fitness levels and stamina, you must perform cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes at least thrice a week. A good way to improve your endurance is to perform the cardio exercise till you are tired and then to push yourself to do the activity for another five minutes without causing exhaustion.

Add a new strenuous activity to your normal activity every couple of weeks to work new muscle groups and build stamina. For instance, add rope jumping or swimming to your usual routine of cycling or running. Increase the toughness of your program by running on the treadmill with a sandbag on your back, adding ankle or wrist weights when going for your jog or hike. If you are looking for bare basics, another easy way which we all should be doing is to add cardio exercises into your daily routine by sacrificing the comfort of an elevator or escalator in favour of the stairs

 

Abdominal exercises

Sit-ups and crunches help to strengthen your core muscles and this will automatically translate into increased stamina while running or playing any sport.

 

Interval training

One of my personal favorite ways to train is Interval training, which involves short bursts of intense activity teamed with exercises of moderate-intensity. So if you are going for a run, you can up the ante and include a 100 meters sprint after every 500 or 1000 meters or a 60 second burst of speed after every three minutes of moderate exercise. This will increase your aerobic capacity, thus improving your ability to work more intensely without experiencing fatigue. TUFF and X-Fit are great group exercise classes that offer this kind of endurance training.

 

Strength training

Weight lifting doesn’t just tone and shape your muscles it also improves your stamina and a great way to burn body fat. Strength training helps in increasing your metabolic rate as well as building muscle mass; this process allows the body to burn more calories even at rest. Strength training is recommended 2-3 times a week, this can be done using body weight, training with free weights, resistance machines, or classes such as Body Pump, TUFF and X-Fit. To build stamina start out with a lighter weight than you normally work out with and perform twice your normal repetitions and be consistent with the duration of your weight training every week. It is important to build up your weight as your progress. Muscle mass assists in toning and shaping the body and is very important in improving bone density.

(Next week: Foods to help you build stamina).

Gulf News
Lifestyle & Entertainment columnists
  • Gaby Doman
    Gaby Doman: Notes to myself

    The everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman, according to this globetrotter

  • Uma Ghosh Deshpande
    The Dubai Insider

    TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande guides you through the city’s society gatherings and stories

  • Russell Hemmings
    Life the Hemmings way

    Life coach Russell Hemmings on fears, anxieties and the human psyche demystified

  • Bharat Thakur
    Yoga for you

    Bharat Thakur guides you through practices and wisdom of this ancient science of exercising

  • Pratyush Sarup
    Design diary

    Dubai-based interior designer Pratyush Sarup lets us in on the world of design

FROM THE NETWORK

More from friday

  • WH_140822_Dodge news (2)
    Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat unveiled

    Canada officially makes the world’s most powerful family saloon — all rise for he 707bhp Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

  • WH_140822_SUP_Spy Rolls
    Rolls-Royce Phantom spotted

    Another theory is that Rolls-Royce is testing a hybrid system slated (rumoured) for the next Phantom

  • WH_140818_Fabian Golf GTI22
    Fabian Hoehn’s 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI

    You can probably count the number of tastefully modified cars in the UAE on one hand, but Fabian’s fabulous Golf GTI is an exception to the rule

  • WH_140822_Nissan driven (1)
    Nissan updates the Juke

    Minor changes are afoot for the Nissan Juke’s mid-life facelift, but there might be just enough to keep buyers interested. Is this V2.0 fun the second time around, too?

  • Tesla Model S
    Tesla Model S driven

    Forget what you know about electric cars. The Model S rewrites the rules

More from Wheels

More from alpha

More from aquarius

More from insideout

Quick Links

  1. Business

  2. Sport

  3. The latest Entertainment news

  4. The latest Lifestyle stories

  5. Blogs

  6. Opinion

In Life

  1. UAE food features, reviews and more

  2. Shopping

  3. Motoring

  4. Travel

  5. Gadgets

  6. Beauty & Fashion

  7. Interiors

  8. People

  9. Health

  10. Education

Latest in Life

  1. Pets in the UAE up for adoption

  2. Yoga for stimulating vagus nerve

  3. Ring, ring: London statues want to talk to you

  4. The 25 simple pleasures of staying in UK

  5. Thailand ranks No 1 in beachfront hotels

  6. US warns tourists of cancelled Venezuela flights