Stamina is staying power — the ability to maintain steady application to a challenging task that may take hours, days or weeks to complete. Stamina keeps you on your feet as you train for a marathon, and it keeps you sitting upright and alert at your desk as you strive to complete the big project.
If you've got, say, a three-day weekend to prepare physically and mentally for the next big push, there's time to recharge your batteries. Here are a few key tricks to achieve rapid self-revitalization.
Release Muscle Tension
When you push too hard for days without properly unwinding, mental tension turns into tight muscles that block energy flow. The best solution is to stretch. The better best solution is to engage in a mind-body practice like yoga, or even tai chi, that involve breath work. For a rapid-deploy stretching regimen, hit a beginners yoga class. Yoga reduces stress and in turn lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. That by itself is a major stamina booster.
Somewhere along the line, it seems that getting enough sleep became regarded as a sinful luxury. In reality, it is an essential ingredient to becoming "healthy, wealthy and wise," as Benjamin Franklin counseled. According to the Gallup Organization, Americans get an average of 6.8 hours of sleep a night, which is about an hour less than our forebears of 1942. And it's may not be enough for most people.
The National Heart, Lung and Kidney Association recommends that people 18 or older get 7 or 8 hours of sleep nightly. Adequate sleep promotes healthy brain function, regulates hormones and facilitates muscle fiber recovery after rigorous training by supporting protein synthesis.
As you probably know, the body needs extra fuel directly before it embarks on strenuous, ongoing challenges. Complex carbohydrates such as those found in legumes and grains, healthy fats like those found in avocados and nuts, and lean protein from animal or vegetable sources propel you through a demanding competitive event and give you the stamina you need to excel.
While eating well may not chase away a case of the blahs overnight, spending three days making sure you get your necessary share of vitamins, micronutrients and minerals through consuming lots of fruits and vegetables could really wake up your metabolism. Avoid sugar, fried foods and too much caffeine and you quickly find you've got an extra spring in your step.
Clear Your Bowels
In the olden days, people considered regular bowl movements to be a necessary ingredient for stamina and vitality. When your system is backed up, your whole system seems to slow down, making you feel sluggish. Disburden your colon of accumulated waste and you'll soon be walking on sunshine.
This is best accomplished by eating a lot of raw fruits and vegetables. But really, will taking a laxative once in a while do you in? Many people swear by colonics, but you can get much the same effect by doing a sea salt cleanse, which you can do at home for free.
- Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology: Chronic constipation: Current treatment options
- Indian Journal of Psychiatry: Cortisol and Antidepressant Effects of Yoga
- Sports Medicine: The Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage
- Role of Tai Chi in Stress Reduction
- Sleep in Elite Athletes and Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Sleep