Understanding Muscle Endurance
Muscle endurance is your ability to sustain and persist with muscular contractions for extended periods of time. This could be during repetitions in weight lifting or calisthenics or while running, hiking, or playing a sport. High levels of endurance allow you to continue doing a physical activity for longer without fatiguing. It is important for exercise, fitness, play, and physically demanding work.
This aspect of fitness is achieved by regularly and repetitively contracting a specific muscle group. This is different from the way you would increase muscular strength, which involves low repetitions of heavy weights. You can have higher levels of endurance in a particular area of your body, while other areas fatigue more quickly.
For instance, you may be an avid jogger, and can sustain the spinning movement of your legs for up to 45 minutes or an hour, whereas if you were to get in a canoe and start rowing, your arm muscles would fatigue and become sore within 15 minutes. Continued and regular efforts at rowing would increase the stamina in your arms, and you would then be able to row for much longer periods of time without feeling weak or tired.
It is the same with each muscle group. You must train the muscle groups in which you want to sustain physical exertion. When higher levels of endurance are achieved in many muscle groups, exercise and physical activities are much more enjoyable and sustainable.
Increasing Muscle Endurance
If you want to increase the stamina of a muscle group, it is important to put in the effort regularly. Endurance can wane if you do not keep up with the exercise, and it will feel more difficult to sustain the activity next time.
Your stamina depends on which kind of activity you want to be able to sustain. You should train by doing the specific activity in which you want to increase your endurance, or by having it in mind and mimicking it when you lift weights.
Begin at your current level and each time you exercise or contract the muscle, push yourself just a little harder than last time. For example, if you lift weights, perform the repetition somewhere between 3 to 10 more times than you normally would for each set.
If you want to increase your endurance as applied to an aerobic exercise, run or hike a little further or for a little longer, like a quarter to half a mile or fifteen minutes more, every or every other session. Then continue this increase formula each week until you are where you would like to be.
Make sure to increase gradually so that your body has a chance to adjust. If you are making these increases incrementally, you will see improvements in your muscle endurance. Your body will thank you because it will feel strong and energized by the activity, especially the next time you do it. You will also start to crave a harder work out!
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