Endurance and Stamina

In our last Wednesday Wisdom, we introduced you to the ten general physical skills used to define fitness. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. According to CrossFit, “you are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills.” As promised over the next few weeks, we are going to discuss each of the skills further and explain why they are important in day to day life. 

The focus this week is cardiovascular/respiratory endurance and stamina. These are significant because both can only be improved through training. Training is “activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body” (CrossFit Journal). You can gain these skills, however, they take time and energy to improve. You must put forth the effort and discipline to improve in these areas. 

Let’s begin with endurance. You probably often hear your coach say ‘your endurance will get improve over time’ or ‘man that guy has great endurance!’. We must train our engine to make it stronger! In CrossFit, we define endurance as “the ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.”(CrossFit Journal) To endure means “to undergo especially without giving in” or the ability to keep pushing through something for a long time! Running a marathon is a great example! 26.2 miles on foot is quite a trek and many people do not have the endurance to keep pushing through to the end. Why do we need to improve our endurance? Endurance activities, such as running, swimming, biking, burpees and others, keep our heart and lungs strong and healthy. If you improve your endurance, completing daily tasks such as bringing in the groceries, playing with your kids and walking up the stairs at work become easier. It will improve your quality of life. 

The second skill is stamina. Like endurance, it increases your bodies ability to perform over time. Stamina is defined as “the amount of time that a given muscle or group of muscles can perform at maximum capacity.” (Livestrong.com)  While stamina focuses on performing at max capacity for a given amount of time, endurance focuses on maximizing the time regardless of the capacity. Next time, you’re doing Fran, is it the burn in your limbs that forces you to take a break or is it because you’re gasping for air? The first would mean that you’re lacking in stamina and the latter would refer to your endurance conditioning. You must train your muscles to work at a higher capacity for a longer period of time. Next time your coach tells you to lower the weight so that you can push through more reps, he/she is trying to improve your stamina. Is it better to have a 10 minute Fran time at prescribed weight or reduce the weight by twenty pounds and go unbroken on the thrusters? Incremental increases in weight with larger sets will improve your muscle stamina, ultimately going unbroken. Think about it next time. Maybe we should program Fran soon to test it out??? Hmmmmm….

There you have it…endurance and stamina! Stay tuned next week as we continue with the ten general physical skills for your Wednesday Wisdom! 

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