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What Decreases Stamina?

What Decreases Stamina?
Swimming can increase your stamina over time. Photo Credit: James Phelon/iStock/Getty Images

Stamina is your body’s ability to sustain extended periods of physical activity. Extended periods can refer to several days of low-intensity exercise or minutes of high intensity exertion. Unhealthy lifestyle choices decrease your endurance and resilience, making it more difficult to sustain intense activities. You can increase your stamina with a few changes to make your body healthier.

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Lack of Exercise

Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis and many other health issues. In addition, lack of exercise allows your muscles to weaken, which decreases their stamina. If you spend most of your day sitting, lounging, watching TV or typing at a computer, you are at risk of decreased stamina from a sedentary lifestyle. You can reverse the detriments from lack of exercise by engaging in regular physical activity. Aerobic exercise, jogging, rollerblading, skipping rope, dancing, swimming, jumping jacks and other cardiovascular activities help rebuild stamina. Start with 20 minutes per day and gradually increase to 45 minutes per day, exercising four to five days per week.

Healthy Diet

Following a poor diet can decrease your stamina, causing you to become winded quickly from exercise. Consuming candy, baked sweets, soda and other sugary treats causes blood sugar level fluctuations and energy crashes. Eating a large heavy meal focuses your metabolism on digestion -- you feel sleepy, not peppy. Shortchanging yourself on calories leaves your body without the necessary fuel to convert to energy. Increase your stamina by eating five to six small meals each day and stick to fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, legumes and whole grains for high-quality, high-energy fuel. For best results, consult a dietitian to determine how many calories you need to maintain a healthy weight and activity level. Count the calories in each meal and eat no more than your required amount per day. In time, your nutritious diet will boost your stamina.

Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco causes more than 2.4 million preventable deaths per year in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Tobacco directly decreases your stamina by limiting oxygen to your heart, muscles and tissues. To counteract the decrease in stamina, stop smoking entirely. Benefits of giving up tobacco include a longer lifespan, lower blood pressure, and decreased risk of cancer, asthma, bronchitis, gum disease, heart attack, cardiovascular disease and several other medical conditions.


If you have low stamina or notice a sudden drop in energy level or endurance, consult your physician. Discuss your lifestyle, daily exercise, diet, and any recent changes to your daily routine. Your healthcare provider can rule out any medical condition that could be contributing to your low stamina and suggest ways to increase your strength and staying power.

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