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How to Build Stamina Naturally

author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.
How to Build Stamina Naturally
A woman runs along a mountain pass. Photo Credit Samo Trebizan/iStock/Getty Images

Stamina comes by many different names. In running, for example, stamina-building workouts are called lactate threshold runs, tempo runs or anaerobic conditioning/training, advises Running Planet magazine. Such workouts aim to raise your lactate threshold–the point at which your body is producing more lactic acid that it can process. This turning point is marked by fatigue. When you build stamina, you train your body to become more efficient at clearing and burning lactate for energy. This allows you to do more before you fatigue, meaning you increase stamina. No matter your sport or activity level, you can build stamina naturally.

Step 1

Utilize interval training to build stamina. This involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of low-intensity work. Do one minute of high-knees followed by 30 seconds of side-to-side step touch. Or run 8 mph for three minutes, then jog at 4 mph for three minutes, advises the Senior Stamina website. You can do this in a sport-specific manner. Runners can alternate quarter- to full miles of 85 percent maximum effort followed by slower jogs, for example. Include a five-minute warm-up and a five-minute cool-down.

Step 2

Alternate your interval workouts with workouts in which you keep a pace that is slightly below your lactate threshold. Do the amount of time or distance you are training for, if building stamina for a sport or event. This trains your body to maintain a good pace for an extended period. Keep your heart rate at about 80 percent of its maximum, which in general should be 220 minus age, according to the Mayo Clinic. Include a five-minute warm-up and a five-minute cool-down.

Step 3

Build stamina in your muscles via weight training twice a week. Do two to three sets of each exercise you choose per workout, and do 12 to 20 repetitions per set. Use weights that are about 60 percent of your one repetition maximum. Rest for only 20 to 30 seconds between each set you do, advise Richard Laliberte and Stephen George in their book “The Men’s Health Guide to Peak Conditioning.”

Step 4

Perform wall sits to build additional stamina in your legs. Stand with your back against a wall. Keep feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. Move your feet 1 to 2 feet away from the wall. Slide your back down the wall as you bend your knees. Ensure your knees do not go in front of your toes, and do not go down past where your thighs are parallel to the floor. You can start with shallower squats and move up to the parallel position. Hold the squat for one minute before returning to the start position. When this becomes easy, hold a dumbbell in each hand to add weight to the move, recommends Sports Injury Clinic.

Step 5

Jump rope to build general stamina and increase leg strength. This old-school training technique still works, and is especially good for basketball players and others who need to improve vertical leap ability. As an alternate, perform one-legged hops and/or side to side jumping maneuvers.

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