Whether you're a professional sports person, exercise addict or simply enjoy physical activity, increasing your physical endurance and stamina can not only help you perform at your peak but also benefit your overall health and wellness.
Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to boost your endurance and stamina naturally without having to reach for a sugar-laden sports or energy drink, or put yourself at risk of burnout and overexertion.
To get a better understanding of the key factors that can help, let's first take a look at some of the basic concepts surrounding physical endurance and what you can do to get yourself into the best shape possible.
What is Physical Endurance?
Physical Endurance is a measure of the body's ability to maintain vigorous physical activity over time. As an example, often people have their physical endurance measured by their ability to use a treadmill or elliptical for different times. The longer they can sustain energetic movement then the greater their physical endurance.
Someone who has good physical endurance is often described as physically fit, although there are other factors such as strength and flexibility, which need to be covered in an estimate of overall physical fitness.
Great physical endurance is vital for long-distance runners or those in most professional sports teams. These athletes must push their bodies for long periods. This is very different from those whose most vigorous activity might be getting out of bed, switching on a computer, or driving a car.
However, there are advantages of high levels of physical endurance for everyone, not just athletes. Such people have a lower resting heart rate and the heart works far more effectively. The muscles are more efficient and much stronger for greater lengths of time. Physically fit people are much better at dealing with the demands of modern life. Those who have good physical endurance generally feel better.
The Science Behind Physical Endurance
As with most worthwhile things in life, even though they seem simple, there is usually a lot of science behind them. Physical endurance has some science too; here are some key points to keep in mind:
The principal cardiovascular (heart) factors influencing endurance are cardiac output, which is the volume of blood pumped each minute by the heart’s left ventricle (chamber) and the resultant flow of blood to the muscles. In a nutshell, it is the combination of stroke volume with heart rate.
The oxygen is delivered to the muscles by the blood, which is used for contraction by them. This is done using energy from the chemical adenosine triphosphate or ATP. The complex chemical reactions in this process involve enzymes, important chemicals that work to extract oxygen very efficiently in those with good physical endurance.
The cardiac output and the quantity of oxygen used by the muscles decide aerobic power, which is called the VO2max. The VO2max is the largest volume of oxygen your muscles can use per minute. Most experts consider the VO2max to be the best measure of aerobic fitness.
Effects Of High-Intensity Physical Activity On The Body
Most exercise has a beneficial effect on health. Even light exercise has been shown to produce benefits.
However when it comes to high-intensity exercise, research shows that in addition to improving the VO2max, those pursuing vigorous activities regularly had lower subcutaneous skinfold thicknesses and better waist-to-hip ratios (WHRs) in comparison to those who only took part in low-intensity activities. So if you want a lean, fit-looking body, you can't go past doing some high-intensity exercise in addition to your usual routine!
What Is Peak Performance?
If you turn in peak performance on a specific task then you are giving a total commitment of all that you can give, be it thought, effort, strength, energy, or courage. Top sportspeople and elite athletes at the top of their game are able to operate at this high-level as a result of their dedication, training and practice.
However, peak performance applies to all areas of life not just physical activity. It can also refer to any activity that requires exception levels of skill, cognition or other high-level abilities.
The Psychology & Mindset Of Peak Performance
Nearly everyone experiences peak performance at some time; most of us know the old saying "Get In The Zone". However, it is the ability to consistently perform at peak levels when it is needed rather than randomly that distinguishes champions from those who are not as dedicated to their practice.
Someone who aspires to do their best in order to perform at their peak must prepare themselves both mentally as well as physically.
You can have the best natural ability imaginable but unless you get your mindset right and have the self-discipline to prepare then it is unlikely you will reach your goals. Someone who may not have as much natural ability as you but has more determination and is prepared to learn what is necessary, put in sufficient practice, training and push themselves is more often than not able to make up for whatever inherent talent they may have.
The thing about winning and success, whether it be in sport, business, science, or any field of human endeavour, is a combination of ability, commitment, determination, perseverance and self-discipline.
The Importance of Diet & Nutrition
Looking specifically at peak performance in sports and exercise, it's vital to take into account multiple factors. One of the most important is nutrition.
In terms of physical endurance, along with the right mindset and attitude, it is also necessary to take into account the significance of the foods you eat and what you nourish your body with.
Plenty of good carbohydrates are essential. They provide the starches and sugars that provide our bodies with fuel in the same way petrol provides fuels for a car. Every gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories of energy. In much the same way that a car stores fuel in its tank, the body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in the muscles and the liver. With these reserves of glycogen, glucose is created as energy for the muscles.
If you're involved in any activity that requires physical endurance then find out the amount of carbohydrate you need and make sure that you get it. There are many useful sources including, grain, bananas, pasta, rice, potato, sports drinks, and chocolate bars. For the best carbohydrate uptake, select foods with different sorts of carbohydrates. Look for foods including different sugars, such as glucose, dextrose, sucrose, and fructose.
You also need a good intake of protein, the building block of muscles, and indeed all body parts. Protein is not only essential as a bodybuilder after training but in small quantities can assist during long physical efforts. How much you take before a major effort, such as a long race must be restricted, as too much can cause stomach problems and cramps.
Electrolytes are chemicals with an electric charge and are minerals vital to the diet. Particularly important electrolytes for endurance are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Each of these has an important part in energy production and the functioning of the muscles. Sodium, in particular, is critical for endurance.
Electrolytes are naturally found in many foods, and a diet with a large variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, lean meat, and whole-grain should be enough for daily needs. You need about 2.3 grams of sodium daily.
However, for training and competition electrolytes can also be obtained through sports drinks specially designed for this.
In addition to what you eat, always also aim to be well hydrated. Water is involved in all metabolic activity, such as lubrication of muscles and joints, and body temperature regulation. If someone does not have enough fluids during an extended session of intense physical activity then their health and performance will suffer greatly.
During demanding exercise, people sweat heavily, losing electrolytes. Electrolytes help maintain hydration and muscle contraction. The maintenance of good hydration is very important. Even if body fluids decline by 2%, problems caused by dehydration such as stomach upset, muscle cramping, difficulty with body temperature regulation, loss of mental focus, loss of concentration, and lightheadedness often occur.
When it comes to physical endurance, the more you can assist your body with balanced pH levels, the better it will perform. This comes as a result of it not having to devote as much energy towards this important function, which instead can be allocated to physical exertion.
Top Plant-Based Superfoods For Endurance & Stamina
Nature offers us many plant superfoods that can help boost physical endurance and stamina.
There are many thousands of natural chemicals in plant foods. These have the name phytonutrients. The word Phyto comes from Greek and refers to plant. Phytonutrients protect plants from threats, such as fungi, germs, and bugs.
The following superfoods contain an abundance of phytonutrients especially beneficial for physical activities such as exercise and sports...
This is a superfood that has become really popular in recent years and for good reason! Quinoa is now widely available, very affordable, and simple to cook. This South American super grain is full of muscle-building proteins and is a rich source of vitamin B12, so important in converting food to energy. It was specifically used by the pre-Columbian Inca warriors for maximum stamina and endurance.
Beetroot and its juice are energy boosters. Beetroots are laden with nitrates for the nitric oxide to increase blood flow by widening blood vessels and assisting the delivery of oxygen. There is at least one study, which showed that some cyclists, who used beetroot juice before their activity, greatly increased their stamina.
A medium-sized sweet potato has about 1 ounce of complex carbohydrates. They are a great energy source. Uncooked, sweet potatoes are digested slowly thus giving energy all day. Also, they are loaded with other important nutrients, such as Vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B5 and B6, niacin, thiamine, and others.
Bananas are a favourite of athletes in all sorts of endurance events. This unmistakeable yellow fruit is full of complex carbohydrates. It is a good source of potassium, which minimises cramping and assists the cardiovascular system. There is research showing that eating half a banana after every quarter-hour during a workout is just as effective as the use of many energy drinks.
As with beetroots, spinach is a rich source of nitrates, so important for the release of energy to boost stamina and endurance.
In addition to these top plant-based superfoods for endurance and stamina, there are many others that are also great to fill your diet with.
Other Natural Ways To Boost Your Physical Endurance, Stamina & Peak Performance
In addition to diet and mindset, there are other natural ways to help improve your physical endurance and stamina:
- Lots of challenging and progressive exercise, some of which should be for strength
- Plenty of sleep, this is very important and often overlooked
- A positive outlook, always look on the bright side. Be optimistic
- Meditation - can be done in many different ways. If you're preparing for some big event it could be a game-changer especially if you also use visualization of the specific outcome or result you desire
- Nutritional supplements can be very useful. Even if you go to great lengths to have a healthy diet, you may still be lacking or need an extra boost when your body needs it most...
Phenoh’s PERFORM Alkaline Sports & Energy Drink For Physical Endurance, Stamina & Peak Performance
Pushing your body to the absolute limit?
Intense exercise stresses the body with dehydration, muscle inflammation, and lactic acid buildup which create a biochemical imbalance leading to possible under-recovery.
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No matter what endurance activity you may be involved in, Phenoh has created PERFORM Endurance SuperBooster to help you reach your exercise and training goals.
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Learn More: PERFORM for Endurance
Healthy Water Enhancers | Alkaline Flavoring Packets
Phenoh PERFORM Endurance SuperBooster is made up of a unique blend of some amazing ingredients including superfoods, nutrients and essential minerals.
For millennia, honey has been recognised as a top superfood. It has been used in the treatment of many health conditions and to stimulate overall health. Honey has many benefits for athletes. It serves as a great booster of energy before any exercise. It is a perfect source of carbohydrates for the restoration of glycogen and the control of blood sugar.
Purple Sweet Potato
As mentioned before, sweet potato is a superfood, so you might expect PERFORM to contain it; but why purple? Once again, we turn to science.
It is in their phytonutrient profiles that the sweet potatoes of different colours differ. The purple type sweet potato has more anthocyanins. These give it its distinctive colour. There is research, which indicates that supplementation with these particular chemicals assists the performance of endurance exercises.
It also helps with post-workout and post-event inflammation, when muscles and joints are sore.
Organic Beet Root
In addition to its specific benefits for athletes and sportspeople highlighted earlier, Beetroot has many other health benefits associated to it. Among its constituents are Vitamins A, B, and C; antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and other important micronutrients.
While many of the other ingredients of PERFORM are well known, you may wonder about Rhodiola Rosea. It is a flowering plant, which grows naturally in Arctic regions. For endurance athletes, there have been studies showing Rhodiola adjusts levels of cortisol, produces performance improvements, and also work capacity.
The mineral zinc has an important role in all biochemical processes of the body.
For better performance, endurance athletes will often have a very different diet to most people. A diet with excess carbohydrates and not enough proteins and fat will frequently not have enough zinc. Such zinc deficiency can lead to serious bodyweight loss, fatigue, and decreased endurance. This is the very opposite of what is wanted and so zinc is vital.
Vitamin D is very important for the building and maintenance of healthy bones. The reason is that your body can only absorb calcium, which is a critical component of bone when vitamin D is in the body. Vitamin D3 is the best type of Vitamin D.
Sodium ascorbate is a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is very important for the skin, bones, and muscles. Vitamin C promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron. Without it, endurance and all hard training are far more difficult, if not impossible.
Calcium is a vital micronutrient for all athletes. Calcium is not only critical for strong bones but it has a major role in muscular movement. The contraction and subsequent relaxation of the muscles are caused by swiftly varying concentrations of calcium inside the muscles, a process often called the calcium cycle.
Magnesium chloride provides two essential electrolytes, which are Mg and Cl. Magnesium, itself, is a mineral essential in more than 600 bodily biochemical reactions. Magnesium is very important for all cells to function properly. Magnesium helps maintain good blood pressure, healthy bones strong, and a steady heart rhythm.
Dipotassium phosphate is a water-soluble electrolyte complex that has good amounts of potassium and phosphate, which is the second most bio-available blood buffer playing an essential role in the pH balance, the production of energy through ATP formation, and communication between cells.
Organic Monk Fruit Extract
Monk fruit, is a small melon, originally from southern China. It got its name from the monks who grew and used it many centuries ago for its health benefits.
Monk fruit contains antioxidants and anti-inﬂammatory properties and is used as a natural sugar substitute. Monk fruit extract is rated a zero on the glycemic index and has zero calories and zero carbs, so it doesn't cause a spike in blood sugar.
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Add one packet of Phenoh PERFORM Endurance SuperBooster to 20oz ice cold H20. Shake well and often as Superfood ingredients may settle. Best if mixed in a shaker bottle, water bottle, blender, or any cup using a frother.