The Oxford dictionary defines stamina as “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.” So basically, we need stamina to be fully functioning members of the human race. If we want to do any work effectively, whether it’s the craft or DIY project in your garage or a paying job you have to have the stamina to see the job to completion.
Thankfully our stamina levels aren’t a set thing. If we feel low or fatigued for no medical reason, we can work on increasing our stamina. Stamina can be increased by combining a nutritious diet with an exercise regime that suits our current level of fitness.
Along with diet and exercise, it is also important to work on our mental health. This is because depression, anxiety, lack of self-esteem or confidence and other mental health issues significantly impact our physical health and stamina.
To increase stamina and strength, you can consult a nutritionist to make a diet plan to suit your needs. Some foods which build stamina are chia seeds, oatmeal, beans, green leafy vegetables, walnuts, bananas and beetroot. These are divided into the major food groups with examples below.
Instead of simple sugars try to get complex carbohydrates from brown rice, oatmeal, or whole-wheat. Quinoa is also a popular high carb food which also has proteins and fiber.
Eggs, fish, lean meat, chicken and lentils are excellent sources of protein.
Minerals and Vitamins
Chia seeds have antioxidants omega three fatty acids, iron and calcium. Leafy green vegetables are also rich sources of iron while bananas have potassium, vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. Kidney beans are also rich in iron, copper, manganese and vitamin K1.
Walnuts contain good fats as well as omega three fatty acids and minerals such as iron, selenium, calcium, zinc and vitamin E. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are necessary for health and found in olive oil, whole eggs, coconuts and other nuts.
Exercise and Yoga
Strengthen your body
A steady exercise routine is important to increase and maintain stamina. Exercises target and strengthen specific groups of muscles in the body. Upper body exercises strengthen pectoral, biceps and triceps muscles. Your pectoral muscles are involved in every activity. Strengthen your pectoral muscles with bench presses and pushups. Build up your biceps with bicep curls and tone those triceps with triceps extensions.
Having a strong core means that you avoid debilitating back pain, have a better recovery time and are more balanced. Try the plank for increasing amounts of time each day. Or build up your strength by first doing high knees followed by sit ups.
The lower back begins to be a problem area with age. Exercises to build stamina and avoid back pain include bridges and lateral leg raises. Strengthen your knee and leg muscles with exercises that target your hamstrings and quads. Try lunges, step ups and leg presses. Squats, lunges and hip extensions strengthen your glutes and improve balance and movement. Pelvic exercises such as Kegels improve pelvic muscle strength.
Choose an exercise regime that suits your current fitness levels. Then, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to improve your stamina. Short intense sessions of exercises such as circuit training or aerobics, swimming, biking or running can all accomplish your goals to increase stamina. That feeling of breathlessness is when intensity is being felt. This is the point when strength begins to increase. Intense workout days should be alternated with rest days where you engage in only light exercise such as walking or swimming.
Stretch and twist to increase your stamina. Power yoga is a great way to improve flexibility while also increasing muscle strength. Less active yoga poses are also designed to build endurance and flexibility while also improving mindfulness.
Circuit workouts are a great way to build up endurance and strengthen muscles. Circuits are generally designed to target major muscle groups in each circuit. They have five or ten movements with little resting or recovery time between each circuit. This keeps your heart rate up. Also, each step or movement will use a particular muscle or set of muscles while the muscles used in the other steps are allowed to rest and recover.
Improving Mental Health
Mental stamina or strength can also be termed as resilience and is essential if we are to cope with all the difficulties that life throws at us. If you find you can’t cope and are overwhelmed in the mental noise of day to day life and have no underlying mental health issues, you may need to work on your mental stamina.
Increasing mental stamina helps us to deal with pressures, stress, and changes. Mental stamina means that we can take calculated risks with confidence. We can build and maintain healthy relationships and have healthy self-esteem levels. By increasing mental stamina, we can increase our ability to deal with changes and difficult situations throughout life.
Mental stamina is increased by working on our positive thinking skills. We must also work to control anxiety and visualize and set achievable goals. We should also strive to feel in control of ourselves and our surroundings.
Consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts can improve mental stamina. Taking small achievable and positive actions can also put us back in control of ourselves and our emotions.
Learning and gaining expertise in any skill can improve self-esteem and decrease anxiety. Breathing exercises and counselling from a trained therapist can also alleviate the distressing signs of anxiety in adults.
We have to be able to see where we want to go. Visualize the path to get there and then follow the path we visualized to reach our goals.
We have to be able to challenge ourselves to reach our personal best. We have to have the ability to set and achieve goals without procrastinating or giving in to distractions. This means we can show commitment and can build a routine to reach success.
You should be able to control your emotions. You must work on not allowing the emotions of others to affect your mental state. Yes, as humans we are affected by people around us, we can sympathize and empathize with other people’s emotions. However, to maintain mental health, it is important to not allow outside emotions to imbalance or cripple our own mental processes. It is also important to feel in control of our life and surroundings as much as possible.
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Low stamina can be increased with a combination of diet, exercise and lack of yoga increased mental strength. Improve your stamina by starting an exercise routine today, specially by doing yoga. Start meditation or other mental health boosting activities. Also add healthy stamina boosting food to your diet.