We often hear the word “stamina” in men’s magazines and health-related media. But stamina is important in women’s lives, too. More women than men need a stamina boost since females are more likely to develop chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
However, low stamina, or more precisely, low energy, affects more men than women. That’s why tips about increasing stamina are often targeted to men. But it’s high time we acknowledge the growing problem of fatigue among women. Both sexes will benefit from healthy stamina levels.
To understand stamina and fatigue better, here are some helpful facts about the terms:
1. Stamina and endurance aren’t synonymous.
Stamina and endurance are often used interchangeably. But there are a few differences between the two. When people talk about stamina, they usually mean someone’s ability to perform an activity without getting tired. While they’re not wrong, they also contribute to the confusion between stamina and endurance.
For example, if you completed twenty reps of shoulder presses without catching your breath, it’s not your stamina at play. It’s your endurance. Your muscle and cardiovascular endurance have improved, which allowed you to perform several reps without tiring.
If you want to test out your stamina, exercising isn’t the way to do so. Instead, it’s observing how your energy levels hold up throughout the day.
Unlike endurance, which is a component of fitness, stamina is a result of getting fitter. If your daily workouts make you more energized throughout the day, it means you have boosted your stamina. On the other hand, if you can already increase the distance of your morning jogs, it means you’ve boosted your endurance.
2. Having low stamina doesn’t automatically mean you have CFS.
Everyone with CFS has low stamina. But not everybody with low stamina has CFS. In men, causes of low stamina include nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, low testosterone, sleep apnea, insomnia, depression, anemia, thyroid problems, and medical conditions. Causes of low stamina in women are the same, minus the low testosterone.
It is not clear what causes CFS. As such, the condition is hard to diagnose. So far, all that’s clear is it affects more women than men, especially women in their 40s and 50s. A cure hasn’t been found yet, but there are effective treatments for chronic fatigue in most healthcare facilities.
3. You can exercise even with CFS.
If you have CFS, there would be times when you can’t even get out of bed. But it doesn’t mean you’d stay that way for as long as you have the disease. With treatment, you can manage your stamina levels better and become energized enough to exercise.
You can start with isometric exercises to avoid physical strain. These are movements you can do even in bed. While lying flat on your back, do some arm and leg motions. Performing this exercise daily can build strength.
Once your endurance increases, start with seated exercises. Do some light lifts by picking up cans of food or bottled water. In no time, you’d also build up your strength.
Go easy on yourself and set realistic goals. On days when you don’t feel like moving, go back to low-impact exercises. As long as your body stays as active as it can get, you’re on the right track.
4. You don’t need high-intensity exercises to increase endurance.
Since increasing endurance is the key to boosting stamina, it’s important to exercise regularly. But weightlifting and other high-intensity workouts aren’t the only ways to build up endurance and stamina. Yoga and meditation work just as effectively, too.
The stress-relieving properties of yoga and meditation improve your ability to handle more intense workouts. In addition, a 2016 study has found that medical students who underwent six weeks of yoga and meditation experienced major improvements in feelings of peace, focus, and endurance.
Hence, don’t force yourself to perform HIIT workouts when your body isn’t in the mood to do so. When your energy levels are low, it’s a call to relax. Rest is also essential in building endurance and stamina.
5. Listening to music can increase endurance and stamina.
Now that you know the importance of relaxation for boosting endurance and stamina, it’s also worth noting that good moods have the same effect. According to a study, people had a lowered heart rate when they exercised to their chosen music. They exerted less effort in doing the movements with music than without it. So blast your favorite playlist if your exercises start to feel boring or uninspiring.
These facts about stamina and fatigue can help you understand your body better. If your fatigue seems more intense than normal, get checked for CFS. Assess your daily routine, ensuring that you don’t deprive yourself of sleep, water, and nourishment.