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Stamina vs. Endurance and How to Improve Both
In the world of fitness, stamina and endurance are often used interchangeably. While they share similarities, there are a few key differences between the two terms.
In short, stamina is how long your body — or a specific muscle group — can perform near maximum capacity. In contrast, endurance is the total amount of time your body can sustain physical activity.
In this article, we’re going to break down stamina vs. endurance training and discuss ways you can build on both to improve your overall fitness.
- Stamina focuses on delivering energy to the body while performing physical activity.
- Endurance is your body’s physical ability to sustain an activity for a prolonged amount of time.
- The best way to boost stamina and endurance is by exercising, incorporating stress-relieving activities into your day, eating a balanced diet, and taking adaptogenic supplements.
STAMINA VS. ENDURANCE
Stamina and endurance are both critical for fitness.
Understandably, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two terms, as they both share similarities.
Here, we will dive deeper into stamina vs. endurance to help you understand how they differ and discuss examples of each.
STAMINA - Stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical and mental efforts without getting tired. It is important when performing physical activity that requires large bursts of energy or explosive movements.
Examples of activities that require stamina include:
- Low volume weight training, which involves fewer sets and repetitions using heavier weights
- Sprinting at maximum speed for an extended time
- Doing the maximum number of squat jumps in one minute
ENDURANCE - Endurance is the amount of time your body can perform a particular activity. Although it is necessary for just about any type of physical activity, it is especially important if your goal is to increase your training duration.
Examples of activities that require endurance include:
- Long distance running
- Performing higher repetitions with lower weights
HOW TO BUILD STAMINA
Building stamina will help you sustain both mental and physical effort for extended periods of time. Unlike endurance, stamina is not always component of physical fitness. Stamina is built as you become fitter.
Ways to build stamina include:
- Progressive overload training
- Yoga or meditation
- Stay hydrated
PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD TRAINING
Progressive overload training is one of the best ways to help improve your stamina and endurance. It is a training technique that gradually puts more stress on your body during workouts, allowing you to create more musculoskeletal strength to help you power through challenging training sessions.
To implement progressive overload training, you must change something, whether it be intensity, volume, weight, distance, or speed.
For example, you may add weight to the bar, increase the number of repetitions performed, or increase the length of your workouts.
PRACTICE YOGA OR MEDITATION
Being under stress can seriously reduce your stamina. Many people practice yoga or meditation to help them relax and unwind. When done several times per week, these activities can also help alleviate stress and increase your mental and physical stamina.
One study found that medical students who practiced yoga or meditation for six weeks experienced significant improvements in:
Inadequate hydration before, during, and after physical exercise can result in a loss of stamina and strength. In fact, dehydration is one of the leading causes of heat exhaustion.
Studies show that drinking low-sugar sports beverages containing electrolytes can increase stamina and athletic performance.
All athletes, especially those who train outside in the heat, should consume an electrolyte beverage to replenish sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride lost through sweat.
HOW TO BUILD ENDURANCE
Endurance is made up of two different elements:
- Cardiovascular Endurance
- Muscular Endurance
Cardiovascular endurance, also known as aerobic or cardiorespiratory endurance, depends on how well your body can transport oxygen to your working muscles. It is determined by how healthy your lungs and heart are. The goal of cardiovascular endurance training is to be able to sustain a certain pace or workload without overworking your heart.
It can be measured by VO2 max, which is also known as maximum oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during exercise. Endurance athletes often have a higher VO2 max compared to untrained individuals.
If you frequently perform aerobic exercises such as swimming, rowing, jogging, or cycling, you likely are already working on your cardiovascular endurance. Any aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate and keeps it elevated for an extended period can help improve your endurance.
If you aren’t a fan of long cardio sessions, new studies suggest high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may actually be more beneficial for improving cardiovascular endurance.
For example, one 2021 review found that HIIT has a more significant positive effect on cardiorespiratory fitness than low to moderate intensity training.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that six sessions of sprint interval training improved aerobic capacity and endurance in trained runners.
HIIT is defined as short, high-intensity bursts of cardiovascular exercise followed by equal or longer rest periods. It can be done on a bike or stationary bike, the asphalt or treadmill, or elliptical trainer.
An example of HIIT is 30 seconds to a minute of sprinting, followed by 1-2 minutes of walking or jogging. The cycle repeats for 10-30 minutes.
Muscular endurance refers to the capability of a muscle or muscle group to continually exert force against resistance without getting tired.
Increased muscular endurance allows a person to complete more repetitions when training. It can also help prevent injuries and increase your energy when performing daily functional activities such as lifting heavy items, bringing groceries upstairs, or raking leaves.
Muscular endurance training is usually done by completing all sets of one exercise before moving on to another or through circuit training.
One of the best ways to improve your muscular endurance is by performing high-volume strength training that includes more sets and repetitions. To do this, individuals should strive to complete at least three sets of 15 or more exercise reps with a load of 60% or less of their one rep max (1RM), according to one 2021 review published in the journal Sports.
In weight training, 1RM is the maximum weight you can lift in a single repetition.
You can also improve your endurance by decreasing your rest time. Per the National Strength and Conditioning Association, rest intervals between sets should be around 30-seconds when training for muscular endurance.
USING SUPPLEMENTS TO INCREASE BOTH
Eating a well-balanced diet with lean protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats can increase your stamina and endurance.
But did you know that substances found in certain plants and mushrooms can also help support you on your fitness journey?
Adaptogens, which have been scientifically proven to help your body deal with mental and physical stress, can help combat fatigue and increase athletic performance.
In particular, adaptogenic mushrooms can help you train longer by improving oxygen utilization, or how well your body takes in and uses oxygen.
One study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements examined the impact of an adaptogenic mushroom blend on high-intensity exercise in 28 young adults.
After three weeks of consistent use, researchers found the participants who consumed the adaptogenic blend experienced an 11% increase in VO2 max compared to those in the placebo group.
Adaptogenic mushrooms can also increase ATP production, allowing you to power through intense workouts.
Our Shrooms is a diverse blend of adaptogens designed to boost mental clarity and focus, support cognitive functions, improve oxygen utilization, and support a healthy immune system.
Although there are several key differences between the two terms, stamina and endurance are equally important in physical fitness.
Stamina is key for helping you power through explosive movements that require a lot of energy and strength. Staying hydrated, practicing stress-relieving techniques, and progressive overload training are all essential for boosting stamina.
Endurance focuses on the length of time your body can perform a particular activity. Performing aerobic exercises such as jogging, rowing, and cycling, as well as high-volume strength training, can increase your cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
In addition to following a healthy diet, supplementing with adaptogens can also help boost your stamina and endurance.