Whether you are a runner thinking about signing up for a marathon or a cyclist contemplating that distance ride or you just want to improve your overall cardio fitness, you need to work on increasing your endurance. Endurance is what helps you power through longer workouts and gives you the energy to get through your day. To help you meet your fitness goals and boost your energy levels, below are four ways you can increase your endurance.
Train in Stages
If you want to increase your endurance, you don’t want to start too hard. Otherwise, you risk injuring yourself and derailing your progress. Instead, you should start with a manageable distance or length of time, and gradually increase week by week.
If you’re building up to a big ride, start at least six weeks out, and start by cycling for half of the distance. The next week, add five miles. The next 2 weeks, add ten miles each week. By week 5, you should be at least at 90% of the desired distance. Read more about this training regime.
Essentially, you need to make a realistic goal of where you want to be in six weeks, start with half, and work your way up each week.
If you can’t get outdoors on a regular basis, consider spinning or using a trainer.
Even if you are not a regular cyclist, using a spin bike can ramp up your cardio to the next level and power your legs and endurance levels. Spin bikes are also easy to learn and your workouts can’t be derailed by inclement weather. Spend your time focusing on building your fitness, not on cars, traffic and other road hazards.
Start Weight Training
Although endurance typically refers more to cardio, your endurance can actually benefit from incorporating regular weight training into your exercise routine. Weight training makes your muscles bigger over time, which increases their exercise potential and gives you more energy to get you through your day. It also improves your flexibility and balance, bone density and blood pressure. When your whole body is stronger and healthier, you can exercise for longer.
If you have never done weight training before, start small until you figure out your limits so that you avoid injury. As you get stronger you can increase the weights that you use and you will start to notice a difference in your endurance levels.
Prioritize Good Nutrition
Increasing your endurance isn’t just about what you do in your workouts, however. It’s also about what you eat. Some foods slow you down and sabotage your endurance levels, while others can fuel your workouts and give you the energy to go longer and harder. Cut out saturated fats and sugars and focus on complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. To keep your energy up between meals, you can snack on nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
You should also make sure that you are well-hydrated, which means drinking plenty of water. When you nourish your body with the proper nutrition and hydration, you power your muscles and give them the fuel they need to increase your endurance.
Increasing your endurance takes time, but it is an achievable goal if you follow the right steps. Take it step by step, try a spin bike if you can’t make it outside, incorporate weight training, and focus on what you are putting into your body and you should start to notice an improvement.