Kinley is a writer with a passion for helping people live their very best lives.
No matter who you are, stamina matters. Whether it’s for exercise, for work or just for the regular demands of modern life, the greater your stamina, the greater your results.
Put simply, stamina is the energy that allows you to sustain effort over time, whether physical or mental. The higher your stamina, the longer you can maintain your level of effort. Improving your stamina, whether it's psychological or physical, is always a good idea.
Multiple factors can cause low stamina. One common cause is a lifestyle. If you spend all day sitting in a chair and don't get much exercise, your level of endurance will suffer. Diet also plays a crucial role. Eating well means feeling well, but a poor diet will destroy your stamina level. Smoking, excessive drinking and the use of drugs can be even more damaging. And stress, lack of sleep and dehydration can all play a part.
Then there are the medical conditions that can reduce stamina, either temporarily or over the longer term. Something as simple as a common cold can leave you feeling sapped of energy, as can allergies. More serious illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer, can cause enormous fatigue and drain your energy. Even pregnancy can be a cause of reduced stamina.
It’s normal to feel tired sometimes, especially after exertion. But if you suffer from a long-term lack of stamina, there may be something you can do about it. Check out these remedies to get your stamina back up where it should be.
1. Eat Healthy
We all know the expression, ‘You are what you eat.' Food is fuel for your body, and the quality of the fuel you choose has a huge effect on your energy levels. Eating a well-balanced diet that's low in fat and sugar and high in fresh vegetables and lean meat is one of the best ways to improve your stamina. To increase stamina, one-third of your diet should be composed of starches or carbohydrates - ideally from whole wheat wherever possible.
Professional athletes often display levels of stamina that appear almost superhuman, so it’s a good idea to take a look at their diets for some inspiration. Unless you train as hard as someone whose job it is to stay in shape, you won’t need to consume the calories of a marathon runner or competitive swimmer. But there are some tips you can take from the world of professional sports.
Try eating smaller meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels high. Snack on raw fruits and nuts when hunger strikes. These natural foods will keep your energy replenished in a healthy way.
2. Make Way For Magnesium
Magnesium plays an essential role in breaking down the glucose in the food you eat and converting it to energy. So a shortage of magnesium can have a severe effect on stamina levels. The best way to get more magnesium into your body is to eat more of the foods that contain it. That means more dark leafy greens, like broccoli and arugula. More nuts and seeds, such as almonds and sunflower seeds. More fish. More soybeans. More bananas.
For optimal levels of magnesium, men should be getting 350 milligrams per day, and women should be getting around 300. If you're struggling to get enough magnesium in your diet, you could consider taking supplements. But where possible, it's always better to get it from whole foods that will also provide you with other vital nutrients.
3. Stay Hydrated
Professional athletes know the importance of staying hydrated. But it's not just the pros who need to keep their water levels up. If muscle tissues don't have enough fluid, they can't perform at the highest level, so it's a good idea to make sure you get enough water before any strenuous activity and keep hydrating throughout.
The same principle applies if the effort you're putting in is mental rather than physical. A dehydrated brain can't do its job properly. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, confusion, and dizziness. Good luck concentrating with all that going on.
If you find it difficult to get all the water your body needs, consider adding some flavor with sports drinks. These drinks will also replenish your electrolytes which helps your body stay limber. But be aware that these drinks can be calorie-dense. You could dilute the sports drinks with water so that you get some flavor without consuming too many calories.
And beware of caffeinated energy drinks. These will give you a quick boost of energy but will have a harmful effect on long-term stamina.
4. Exercise Regularly
It sounds strange. The last thing you want to do when you're tired is exercise. But the truth is that your body will adapt and improve through exercise. Muscles get bigger and stronger through use. Lung capacity grows along with blood flow, carrying more oxygen to tired muscles. The more you exercise, the better condition your body will be in, and the more stamina you'll have.
150 minutes of moderate exercise per week will help get your body into better shape. Cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking, and aerobics will increase the strength of your heart and lungs and keep that oxygen flowing. Alternatively, strength-based activities such as weight lifting will increase the endurance of your muscles over time.
It's tempting when you're feeling tired to rest, and rest is an essential part of staying healthy. But too much rest can actually make you more tired by reducing your stamina. It's important to keep moving and stay in shape.
5. Yoga And Meditation
There's a reason why the ancient Indian discipline of yoga has become more and more popular around the world in the last few decades. It offers a low-stress way of exercising that almost anyone can do, but which is still useful for people in great shape. Yoga improves balance, muscle endurance, and bone strength, all of which can help improve stamina.
Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation. Studies have shown that meditation can reduce stress and increase mental well-being. It can also increase focus. Meditation and yoga combined are an excellent way to improve both physical and mental stamina at the same time.
Meditation can also help you to develop your breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a method that can bring more oxygen into the body and keep both muscles and brains supplied and working at their best. Practitioners of yoga and meditation develop good breath control, and this can help your stamina no matter what tasks you have to perform.
6. Stay Motivated
Even if it’s your physical stamina that you’re trying to develop, it’s important not to neglect the mental side. Fatigue works on the mind as well as the body, convincing you to give up. Staying motivated is the only way to keep pushing through and improve your stamina.
Visualizing your goal is a great way to stay motivated. Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve - winning a game, beating a personal record, passing a crucial exam - imagining yourself getting the result you’re hoping for can do wonders to keep you focused and motivated. Over the long run of a sports season or a school year, motivation can make the difference between success and failure.
Breaking the task ahead of you into small pieces can help to make it seem less daunting. Try not to dwell on the challenges ahead, but focus on the goal instead. And try to avoid distractions. Clear your schedule. Ignore your notifications. If you find it hard to put your phone away, try an app that makes it unusable for a set period of time.
7. Take Proper Rest
When you’re trying to accomplish something difficult, it can be tempting to push yourself too hard. An effort is a key to great results, but the sustained effort is often more important than a monumental but short-lived burst. Making sure you get proper rest is vital in maintaining stamina over the long term.
During the sustained mental effort, taking even a short break can have a considerable effect on your stamina. Where possible, step outside for a breath of fresh air any time you start to feel overwhelmed. You'll be surprised how big of a difference it makes.
Sleep is when the body repairs itself, both physically and mentally. Make sure you’re getting enough rest every night. The optimal amount of sleep varies from person to person, but seven to nine hours is usually best for adults. Set aside electronic devices an hour before bed to avoid the sleep-interrupting effects of the blue light they emit. Make your bedroom a place of perfect peace and quiet, and you’ll find that your mental and physical stamina improve significantly.