Fitness

Maintaining Endurance: The Secret to Sustained Activity

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Can increasing endurance help individuals who want to improve their physical abilities or extend the time they perform these activities?

Endurance

Individuals tend to think of endurance in terms of exercise and fitness, such as running, biking, swimming, and strength training. While this is true, endurance is involved in nearly every task we perform. For example, an individual has to have enough endurance to complete a full day of activities. This includes:

  • Carpooling the kids
  • Professional responsibilities
  • Home chores
  • Preparing dinner
  • Helping out kids with homework, etc.

Nearly every activity requires some level of endurance, which means the ability to maintain activity for an extended period of time. When endurance begins to wane, it usually results from not performing certain activities regularly. The body gets used to daily routines and activities. When it stops engaging in certain activities, like walking and exercising regularly, endurance slowly declines, and the ability to perform at the same caliber.

What Is It?

Endurance is an ability that is acquired after extensive physical and mental training. Physiological and psychological factors reinvigorate individuals to continue doing what they are doing longer. Factors include:

Fatigue

  • Individuals who didn’t sleep well the night before or are worn out may have difficulty following through with certain activities that require extensive output or stamina.

Fitness Levels

  • Current fitness levels are also a predictor of endurance.
  • How physically fit an individual is, coupled with their level of training, will impact endurance abilities.
  • Genetics is another factor, as everybody has different muscle fibers that can influence physical capabilities. While research shows that individuals can gradually alter the amount of these fibers, it also emphasizes the role of genetics in determining one’s muscle makeup. (de Souza, E. O. et al., 2014)

Individuals who constantly challenge themselves mentally and physically are continually building endurance.

Endurance and Stamina Difference

Endurance is often used interchangeably with stamina. However, the two are very different.

  • Stamina refers to how long an individual can perform a certain activity at maximum capacity or without getting tired.
  • Endurance revolves around an individual’s ability to perform a certain activity without performing at maximum capacity.

Types

Endurance can be divided into classifications defined by type. Here are the main types of endurance in physical fitness and what they mean.

Cardiovascular

  • Cardiovascular endurance is the stress an individual’s heart can take during physical activity.
  • When building cardiovascular endurance, the body becomes more efficient at pumping blood while performing a specific activity.
  • Individuals with more cardiovascular endurance can sustain longer and more intense overall training.

Muscular

  • Muscular endurance is the length of time muscles can continue to contract enough to allow the body to finish a certain activity.
  • An individual lacking in muscular endurance will succumb faster to excess lactic acid build-up, causing cramps.
  • An individual with significant muscular endurance can lift a weight for more repetitions before failure.

Anaerobic

  • Anaerobic means without oxygen, so anaerobic endurance refers to how long a muscle can continue working at a certain physical level without much or any oxygen.
  • Weightlifting is a great example of this.
  • Anaerobic exercise tends to be shorter in duration but more intense than aerobic exercise, like swimming or cycling.

Improvement

Through endurance training, individuals can improve their ability to carry out certain activities longer. Recommendations for how to improve include.

Interval Training

Interval training, or high-intensity interval training, involves increasing the intensity of the workout for a short period of time.

  • If running, intentionally push the pace harder than normal for 20-second intervals.
  • Followed by a slower recovery pace for about a minute.
  • This increases endurance and improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Pedaling on an air bike is another recommended activity to build strength and endurance.

Rest Less Between Sets

  • Resting in between certain types of physical activity is beneficial, it can also lower heart rate and endurance threshold.
  • Taking less rest between workout sets so that the heart rate stays elevated increases endurance with each workout.

Perform a Few More Reps On Each Set

  • Whatever the type of exercise being done, one way to enhance endurance is to add one more rep, one more mile, or a few more minutes to the fitness schedule.
  • The body will slowly adapt to that level, making it the new norm.

Increase Core Strength

  • No matter the workout—running, swimming, cycling, or weight lifting—it’s important to focus on strengthening the core. This will help improve endurance in any activity and prevent injuries.

Individuals having trouble taking their workouts to the next level and feeling that their endurance has flattened should consider enlisting the help of a certified personal trainer. If there is any discomfort or pain when working to increase endurance, seek advice from a healthcare professional. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic uses an integrated approach to treating injuries and chronic pain syndromes. It offers personalized care plans that improve ability through flexibility, mobility, and agility programs to relieve pain. Our providers use an integrated approach to create personalized care plans for each patient, including Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Electro-Acupuncture, and Sports Medicine principles. Our goal is to relieve pain naturally by restoring health and function to the body. If other treatment is needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.


Unlocking Athletic Potential


References

de Souza, E. O., Tricoli, V., Aoki, M. S., Roschel, H., Brum, P. C., Bacurau, A. V., Silva-Batista, C., Wilson, J. M., Neves, M., Jr, Soares, A. G., & Ugrinowitsch, C. (2014). Effects of concurrent strength and endurance training on genes related to myostatin signaling pathway and muscle fiber responses. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 28(11), 3215–3223. doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000000525

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The information herein on "Maintaining Endurance: The Secret to Sustained Activity" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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