5 expert-approved ways to improve your stamina and amp up your workout routine

Whether you’re gearing up to run your first-ever marathon, working on your resolution to get fitter before the year ends, or simply looking for ways to keep up with your toddler, the first thing you’ll need to work on is your stamina. Stamina refers to the body’s ability to perform any activity for sustained periods of time. “It is a function of endurance and economy. Athletes or anyone who has a structured plan or coach is working on improving these two factors. To take a simple example, [the fact] that I can run at an easy pace for 10 km with a heart rate zone of 70-75 [beats per minute] shows my endurance. In order to increase stamina, my goal should be to cover the same distance [while] maintaining the same heart rate, but at a higher speed,” explains Nikhil Kapur, co-founder, Atmantan Wellness Centre, Mulshi.

Set realistic goals

“When people fail to be consistent with their fitness routines, whether it is walking for a stipulated time every day or swimming non-stop, it is because the mind gives up. Adhering to a rigorous physical training schedule is all about determination and will power,” says Mumbai-based neuropsychiatrist, Dr Rohan Bokadwalla. He says that the best way to build stamina is to assign smaller tasks. Kapur seconds this, explaining, “Start small, whether it is [with] distances or loads. Slowly and steadily push the envelope.” Improved physical stamina also helps the mind to cope better under stress. “[When] you are in control of your body and its functioning, you develop a sense of calm. The mind does not panic as it knows things will fall into place,” Dr Bokadwalla adds.

Be consistent with your fitness routine

“Nothing you do once is going to bring the desired results. The frequency depends on the kind of training you are doing. It could be high intensity intermittent training thrice a week if you want to increase speed, or pilates sessions every alternate day to build your core endurance. Whatever it is for you, stick to the routine,” advises Namrata Purohit, celebrity pilates instructor.

According to celebrity fitness coach Eefa Shrof, the easiest and most effective way to build stamina is to commit to a 30-minute low intensity long duration workout such as walking, cycling or swimming. “Walking is the most underrated, but one of the best ways to build your stamina,” states Shrof.

Keep adding variations to your training

Running fast every day won’t make you faster. In fact, you will experience diminishing returns. But a mix of intervals and recovery workouts is what gives you big returns,” says Kapur. Purohit agrees, explaining that those looking to increase stamina cannot do the same exercise at the same intensity with the same amount of repetitions forever. Start slowly, start easy but keep building up every week to reach a target. “Some ways to push the body to increase endurance and stamina is to increase the repetitions and intensity, or to reduce the rest or recovery times in between sets,” she says. She also warns against pushing yourself beyond your capacity, strictly stating that it is not advisable to do so. To get the best results out of your training, Kapur recommends investing time in stretches, warm ups and cool downs.

Practice Ashtanga yoga

Sequences of Ashtanga postures are done in a continuous, fast-paced manner without taking a single break. “The combination of rigorously consistent breath work with physical activity is something you find in Ashtanga yoga,” explains yoga expert Pragya Bhatt. The ability to inhale deeply while you are moving is an important factor in stamina building. This is more particularly emphasised in Vinyasya yoga, which is freestyle Ashtanga yoga focusing on doing repetitions for a sustained period of time. “When you are constantly moving for an hour, your body starts to build strength or stamina. Even when you move off the yoga mat, you are still able to retain that ability to combine physical movement with your breath, regardless of what that movement might be,” he adds.

Don’t forget to rest

Exercise depletes energy, fluids, and breaks down muscle, but to maintain endurance, speed and accuracy, it is critical that the body is able to rebuild muscles and hydrate itself quickly. According to Purohit, a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep is critical to improve stamina. “Your muscles need time to repair, recover and recharge,” she explains. Even among the athletes, in addition to physical conditioning and healthy eating, the amount of sleep they get is the key to winning.

This article first appeared in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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