Stamina can be described as a physical as well as a mental trait. Physical stamina is considered to be one of several fitness components used to evaluate health and fitness levels. This component is identified by several terms; among them is physical stamina which comprises cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Stamina, or endurance, is a key component in achieving improved fitness levels and decreasing the risk of heart problems. Physical stamina levels can be increased through physical activity.
Physical stamina can refer to the ability of your heart and lungs to function during high-intensity activities. Your heart and lungs supply increased amounts of blood and oxygen to meet the demands of prolonged physical activity. This can also be referred to as cardiovascular endurance.
According to the Marine Corps, physical stamina is the ability of your body to function in order to withstand pain, fatigue, stress and hardship. An example would be completing a run or march with blisters on both feet. Physical stamina is considered to be an important component of military leadership training.
Your heart beats in order to supply your body with an adequate blood supply. With an increased activity, your heart increases the amount of blood in each beat along with the number of beats per minute. Your lungs supply your body with oxygen with each breath. With an increased activity, your lungs increase the amount of oxygen with each breath along with the number of breaths per minute. Your heart and lungs increase their capacity to supply your body to meet this increased demand.
The benefits of increased physical stamina include a decreased resting heart rate, lower blood pressure and decreased stress levels. In addition, there is an increase in metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories for energy. An increased metabolism will help you reduce excess body fat and body weight. As overall fitness levels improve, there is a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease. Your body is able to perform everyday tasks without fatigue as energy levels are increased.
Training to improve physical stamina involves cardio and strength training activities. Movements using lower body muscles such as walking, jogging, elliptical training and group aerobic and step classes are examples of cardio training. Activities must be performed for a minimum of 20 minutes. Heart rates must reach a training zone between 90 and 130 beats per minute. Workouts should include a warm-up phase to gradually increase heart rates and prepare your body for the workout. Cool-down phases should end the class to gradually decrease heart rates and help your body recover from the workout. Muscular endurance can be improved by a regular strength training regimen which can include lifting dumbbells, barbells or your own body weight.
As of 1994, the American Heart Association identified inactivity as a primary risk factor and one of the leading causes of heart disease. Low stamina levels increase the risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Increasing physical stamina can help reverse inactivity and the health problems that it can lead to. First-time participants should consult a physician prior to starting an exercise program.
- Keep Moving! Fitness Through Aerobics and Step; Esther Pryor and Minda Goodman Kraines
- Center for Strategic Leadership Services: Marine Corps Leadership Traits
- Brian Mac: Conditioning