One of the major challenges that new athletes encounter when working out is improving their endurance. Perhaps this sounds familiar: you resolve to hit the gym in the new year, and show up in your gear, ready to go. Ten minutes into your workout, you’re huffing and puffing, overextending yourself and forgetting why you wanted to get in shape in the first place. This is no “runner’s high!”
First of all, don’t despair! Endurance is something that must be built slowly and steadily, over time. The best way to increase your endurance without burning out or injuring yourself is to begin with something light and comfortable, like brisk walking. Experts recommend a pace that elevates your heart rate, but not so much that you couldn’t have a conversation with a walking partner.
30 minutes, 3 times per week is a common target for walking exercise. Once you’re comfortable at that activity level, increase the workout time by 15 or 20 minutes. Of course, you can always add extra days to your workout.
Increasing the intensity of your workout will further improve your endurance. If you’re comfortable with walking, try light jogging or running. Tired of jogging? Perhaps biking might be more to your liking. Swimming, lifting weights, ultimate Frisbee, or salsa dancing are all ways to increase the intensity of your workout while still having fun.
Improving your endurance does not have to be an exercise in drudgery. People get burned out on exercise when they don’t constantly switch things up and keep it fresh. Mixing high intensity aerobics with a light session of weights and a game of pick-up basketball is one way to get a fantastic workout that builds endurance.
Remember these simple steps to building up your endurance and having a great exercise experience:
- Check with your doctor if you are concerned you may have health problems as a result of ramping up your exercise regimen.
- Start slowly, and build from there.
- Determine the types of fitness activities you’d most enjoy.
- Change the type of activities you do, including moderate, vigorous, and muscle building endeavors.
- Work out in a safe place and be aware of your surroundings.