Do you get winded after walking upstairs? Do you feel exhausted after completing a work assignment? Are you ready to go home and take a nap? If so, you lack stamina. Imagine how different your life would look if you had the stamina to do everything you wanted to in a day.
Stamina means having the strength and energy to complete a mental or physical task. Increasing your stamina means you can exercise longer and with more efficiency. You will make tangible gains towards meeting your fitness goals. Building stamina also increases the likelihood that you will finish your workout feeling energized and ready for your day instead of tired and depleted.
Increasing your mental stamina allows you to work longer without distraction or mental fatigue. As you increase your mental efficiency, you can complete tasks more quickly and still have the energy left to do the things you enjoy.
Exercise can improve physical and mental stamina, leaving you happier and more energized.1 Challenge yourself to increase your exercise demands in small increments each week. Whether you run, lift weights, walk outside, play sports, or enjoy another form of exercise, the best way to increase your stamina is to gradually ask more of your body each time and then allow it to adapt.
Exercise has benefits for everyone, including aging adults. Exercise can increase your stamina by:
Aerobic exercises, such as walking and running, improve your cardiovascular fitness. Your heart and lungs get more efficient at sending oxygenated blood to your brain, muscles, and other organs. This helps reduce fatigue and build endurance.
Strength-building exercises increase muscle mass. When you stress your muscles, they build muscle fibers to adapt to the increased load. Building muscle makes you stronger and able to accomplish physical tasks using less energy. As you build stamina, you will be able to stress your muscles longer and lift heavier weights.
Exercise does not have to take place in a gym. When you are actively involved in hobbies that cause you to move your body and engage your mind, you will increase your stamina. By doing something you enjoy, you will probably be able to persist in your activity longer and make greater physical fitness gains.
Meditation is a tool used to cultivate mindfulness. It increases your sense of awareness and attention. Practicing meditation is a great way to reduce stress, improve concentration, connect with your body, and manage your emotions.2 Meditating can help build your mental stamina.
There are two main types of meditation: concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation. Concentrating meditation aims to focus your mind on one specific thing and tune out all distractions. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to be aware of and rooted in the present.
Meditation trains your mind to focus and gain clarity, while exercise builds strength and endurance. Try incorporating both into your daily schedule to improve physical and mental stamina.
Many people depend on thirst as a sign that they need to hydrate. Thirst is an indicator that you are already dehydrated. Drink water and other low-calorie drinks throughout the day to stay hydrated.
After exercise, especially if you exercise in a hot and humid environment, restore your electrolytes. Choose from a wide range of fruits and vegetables to ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs to maintain your physical and mental energy levels.
If you’re like most people, when your energy levels sink, you reach for a caffeinated beverage. Caffeine can definitely give you a boost.3 But, if you rely on caffeine too much, your body will adapt to it.
Use caffeine strategically for when you need a boost but cannot exercise. Otherwise, a short walk, a few jumping jacks, or climbing the stairs can boost your energy without side effects.
Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Side effects from excessive caffeine include:
Food is fuel for your body. If you put second-rate gas into your car, you don’t expect it to run well. The same is true for your diet. Choose healthy sources of protein and fats, whole foods, and a wide array of fruits and vegetables as the foundation for your diet.
Medications and supplements may help boost your stamina, but before relying on them, call your doctor and schedule a full physical exam. It is essential to rule out a medical cause of physical or mental fatigue before assuming that lifestyle measures can improve it.
Music can boost your mood and energy. According to a review article by Van Dyck, music has the following potential benefits:4
It’s hard to build stamina without proper rest. Brain fog is that mentally fuzzy feeling that makes it hard to focus and recall information. It can cause mental fatigue. Sleep is an active process. It allows your brain to repair damaged cells, restore hormones and nutrients, and process wastes. As sleep debt increases, brain cells find it harder to communicate. Poor sleep quality can make it much more difficult to concentrate and remember.
For better sleep:
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
1. de Vries JD, van Hooff MLM, Geurts SAE, Kompier MAJ. Exercise to reduce work-related fatigue among employees: a randomized controlled trial. Scand J Work Environ Health. Jul 1 2017;43(4):337-349. doi:10.5271/sjweh.3634
2. Prasad L, Varrey A, Sisti G. Medical Students’ Stress Levels and Sense of Well Being after Six Weeks of Yoga and Meditation. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016/12/07 2016;2016:9251849. doi:10.1155/2016/9251849
3. Goods PS, Landers G, Fulton S. Caffeine Ingestion Improves Repeated Freestyle Sprints in Elite Male Swimmers. J Sports Sci Med. Mar 2017;16(1):93-98.
4. Van Dyck E. Musical Intensity Applied in the Sports and Exercise Domain: An Effective Strategy to Boost Performance? Mini Review. Frontiers in Psychology. 2019-May-15 2019;10doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01145