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Hamilton Health Sciences Home
May 29, 2017

How to build fitness stamina

Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life in a positive way.

One pathway to achieving greater resilience is through physical fitness. Research shows that regular exercise doesn’t just build muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, it also builds resilience. How, you may ask? It turns out that the stress of exercise helps us adapt to the stress we will feel when life challenges us.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain which can help us learn better and more quickly—that could help when training for a new role, problem solving, or embarking on a new project.

Physical activity also prevents many chronic diseases, keeping us healthy and more resilient as we age.

If you’re a seasoned athlete, these physical responses to activity can be rewarding, but if you’re a beginner, they can be intimidating. That’s why it’s important to build up your stamina gradually.

Watch this short video for tips on how to improve your physical endurance.

How to build stamina

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about risks, limitations and precautions before beginning a new activity.
  • Set a goal. Decide what you want to accomplish and write it down in detail.
  • Start slowly. Ease your body into a new challenge.
  • Increase your activity level in small increments.
  • Gradually try walking a bit longer, cycling a bit faster, or lifting a bit more weight.
  • Exercise regularly. Finding time for daily activity helps keep up your momentum.
  • Find a workout buddy! Exercising with a friend will improve your follow through.
  • Use tech to track your progress. Fitness apps can help to motivate you.
  • Celebrate feel good moments. Write down how you feel after a great workout to inspire yourself when you’re sluggish.

You can be physically active in many different ways, at any time of day. Finding ways to incorporate activity into your existing schedule will help make fitness a habit instead of a chore. Try to be active on most, preferably all, days of every week.

So, what counts as physical activity?
• gets your body moving
• quickens your breathing
• makes your heart beat faster

At work, that could mean suggesting a walking meeting, doing a set of jumping jacks and squats during your break, or incorporating activity into your commute.

Don’t be intimidated! Get started and see how it feels!