Fitness. Getting fit, keeping fit, being your fittest ever. All these are positive by-products of the most challenging year of many of our lives. A silver-lining on a Covid-coloured cloud. Just think, where would we be without working out? So now we've all been bitten by the fitness bug, in no small thanks to the at-home workout heores who've inspired us at every squat and step-up on the way, let's take it to the next level.
What better way to give 2020 the two-fingered salute it definitely deserves than increasing your stamina? Follow our handy hacks and you'll burst into 2021 stronger, fitter and more resilient than ever before. If that's not a good New Year, then we don't know what it is...
Let exercise become your habit
Consistency is key here. The more you exert yourself, the more energy you use up, the greater amount you will have tomorrow. Your body releases endorphins when working out which trigger positive feelings and diminish pain.
A study by the National Library of Medicine in 2017 found that a six-week exercise program for those struggling with fatigue boosted their cognitive functioning and also their productiveness.
Half an hour of physical activity, five days a week is the base level for a minimal level of fitness. When just starting out, if you are able to hit that target and slowly increase it, your body will react and you’ll find longer workouts become that little bit easier. In no time, exercise will be a piece of cake.
Walk off that food
Going for a brisk walk half an hour after eating will boost your metabolism and enhance your digestion, thus improving your stamina. Getting those legs moving after a meal is said to promote weight loss, as opposed to walking before a meal, and can also reduce the risk of heart disease and help regulate blood pressure, according to healthline.
Walking also releases serotonin, the key hormone for stabilsing our mood, and expands energy; doing this regularly will help your body in the long term. Also improving blood flow, walking means nutrients will be transported more easily to the muscles and organs, meaning they will work more efficiently.
Get your oxygen flowing thanks to yoga
Yoga can be a huge aid in physical endurance as it can help you with your breathing, enabling better oxygen intake. Yogajournal.com explains that it helps to get oxygen to the working muscles when exerting oneself - that’s why people who aren’t as fit as others get weezy, fatigued and out of breath quicker.
“Yoga breathing lengthens our bodies through deep inhalations and exhalations, as if we are making ourselves bigger from the inside out and therefore making more room in the internal container for a better breath,” says Clayton Horton, a former triathlete and competitive swimmer who is now director at Greenpath Yoga Studio in America.
Meditation, too, will help reduce stress and improve wellbeing too, giving you that boost and headspace to pursue your fitness goals.
Remember, water is your best friend
A small reduction in hydration can cause a big difference in your endurance, according to Marissa Strehlow writing for Aurora Healthcare, so water intake is important if you want to keep putting in the hard yards and keep your body performing at its peak.
Before exercise, you should be drinking two cups (that’s 16oz) of water and another cup 10 to 15 minutes ahead of your workout. It’s then important to stay hydrated during your routine, that’s another cup every 20 minutes. And yes, you guessed it, another cup - minimum - needs to be taken on within two hours of your routine.
Keep those fluids up, it’s vital to maintaining stamina.
Keep the bangers coming
You know how it is, you’ve been pounding the treadmill for a while, burning those calories, but you’ve started to lag a little, then an absolute banger of a song appears on your Spotify shuffle and all of a sudden you feel like you could do a marathon as you run to the beat.
It’s a music phenomen and the research backs it up too. The boffins at Brunel University discovered that hearing your favourite tunes while working out increased endurance by as much as 15 per cent. So stick in those headphones and keep going.