In general, having stamina means that you have the ability to sustain an effort for an extended period of time. That could be an athletic activity like running, or a mental activity such as getting through a day at a desk job.
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Because stamina is very much of a mind-body proposition, lack of or poor stamina can arise from quite a number of causes. Understand some of the most common reasons for poor stamina so you then make efforts to improve.
Read more: The Best Way to Get Your Running Stamina Up
The human body is amazing. An infinite number of things can go wrong with it, yet it keeps on trucking even when compromised. That means sometimes you have to really look under the hood to find out what's wrong.
A basic medical physical evaluates all of the body's vital functions. If it's been more than a year since your last one, it's time to call your healthcare practitioner, who'll test your thyroid function, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides, and other vital functions.
If something more serious is wrong, these tests will give clear indications for further investigation. Also vastly underrated in overall human health is dental care; a slightly annoying gum disturbance, for example, can signal a low grade tooth infection that could be seriously degrading your stamina.
If you're not eating a healthy diet, or eating irregularly, you may find hidden energy by tuning up your nutritional intake. Your body is like a sports car: it runs better and faster on high grade fuel.
You don't have to give up carbs, but you'll have a more reliable reserve of energy if you replace the junky kind with nutritious carbs. When it comes to food, the color "white" is usually a red flag. Swap white bread and white rice for whole grain and brown versions. When choosing potatoes, opt for sweet most often.
Other good carbs recommended by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) include quinoa, fresh vegetables and fruit, and winter squash. Yogurt, cottage cheese, lean animal protein, protein powders and nut butters are good sources of protein for endurance. It's best to avoid high fat meals before working out because they tend to make you sluggish. Eat sufficiently to get you through your goal and give yourself time to digest. Digestion time varies among people, but two or three hours is a good baseline.
If part of your lack of a stamina manifests in shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, you may have Exercise-Induced Asthma. It's a form of asthma that's triggered by exercise, and may stem from the airways' reaction to cold or warm air, moist or dry air, allergy to organic plant matter or pollutants, or sensitivity to the exercise itself. EIA is treatable and preventable with prescription inhalers.
Read more: How Does the Body Change Food into Energy?
- NIH: Thinking about Your thyroid
- U.S. News: The Annual Physical: Do You Need One?
- Nutrients:Pre-Exercise Nutrition: The Role of Macronutrients, Modified Starches and Supplements on Metabolism and Endurance Performance
- ACE: Meal Timing
- US News: 6 Reasons Your Athletic Performance May Be Lagging
- NIH: Exercise Induced Asthma
- "Sports Science": Highlights of the Third Annual International Altitude-Training Symposium