Stamina is a measure of the capability to sustain prolonged stressful effort. Gauging your stamina provides valuable insight to your overall physical constitution and power to endure disease, fatigue, and illness.
Because stamina decreases as we age, it is absolutely imperative to work hard and constantly stretch our bandwidth of endurance.
There are a myriad of incredible ways to build stamina through proper (and careful) exercise, and here are 6 of the greatest activities I have found for this purpose:
1. Bikram Yoga
Bikram is a specific type of Yoga and one of the most grueling cardiovascular workouts you can endure. For 90 minutes you are immersed in a room that is 110 degrees (intentionally) and are instructed through a series of 27 postures and stretches that will push the limits of your pain threshold (its difficulty is what makes it SO rewarding)! There is no chanting or anything seemingly spiritual about this Yoga, and if you can get past the initial pain and make a habit of the practice there is absolutely nothing better for your stamina than Bikram!
2. Lift Weights
Most people think of aerobic exercise when trying to increase stamina, but the truth is that real fitness magic happens when you simultaneously improve your muscular AND cardiovascular systems. Use weight machines, free weights, fitness bands and your own body weight (my favorite) to drastically increase your stamina.
Hiking in nature has so many benefits that it would take a few pages to list them all. One of the less talked about advantages of taking a good hike is what it can do for your stamina. Because you are outdoors, and most likely surrounded by oxygen-giving trees and plants, your lungs will take in a greater abundance of the gas it loves most. This is extremely healthy for the alveoli that serve as the mechanism for your breath. Plus, depending on the type of hiking you do, it can be a muscle building and cardio workout which makes it dually beneficial.
Pilates is a fantastic exercise that focuses 100% on strengthening the core of the body. By focusing on the stomach and lower back, a consistent Pilates routine improves posture and brings the body in better alignment. These adjustments will help you breathe easier, sleep better, and put less stress on weaker joints and tendons. Like Bikram, Pilates can be somewhat grueling and is fantastic for increasing stamina. I highly recommend you giving it a try!
Performing deep breathing exercises or taking a 20-minute nap can give your brain and body the opportunity to do some very important restorative work. As staminas opposite, relaxation is a critical component to increasing your endurance. Strive for a solid 7-8 hours of solid sleep each and every night for added benefits.
6. Have Sex
In my article 25 Fun Ways to Pamper Your Body and Increase Vitality, I did not have sex on the list and boy did some people jump down my throat! “That should have been #1 far and away” I was told. You know what, my complainers were right and having sex is a great way to pamper the body, improve vitality AND increase stamina. There are countless studies relating longevity to how much sex one has, so keep on doing it to add years to your life!
In the end, our stamina is a fantastic measuring stick for our overall wellness. Push yourself to increase endurance and build stamina, and you can literally add many good years onto your life!
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