Increase Your Endurance !
Endurance exercises are activities that increase your heart rate. Do these for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time every day – 30 minutes 5 days a week is recommended. You can also add these as your warm-up and cool-down before and after your strength training routine.
Jump Rope, Walking, Jogging, Swimming, Raking, Sweeping, Dancing, Playing Tennis, Gardening, Shopping, Playing any Sport. Most of these can change from Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced by increasing the intensity from Light to Moderate to Vigorous.
On This Page:
- How to Improve
- How Much, How Often
- Modify As You Progress
- Safety Tips
- Informative Books and Helpful Equipment For You
How to Improve Your Endurance
Endurance exercises are activities – walking, jogging, swimming, raking, sweeping, dancing, playing tennis – that increase your heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time.
They will make it easier for you to walk further, faster or uphill. They also should make everyday activities such as gardening, shopping or playing a sport easier. Check the Endurance Exercises for some exercise suggestions.
How Much, How Often
Refer to your starting goals and build up your endurance gradually. If you haven’t been active for a long time, it’s especially important to work to a goal you are happy with. It may take a while to go from an inactive lifestyle to doing some of the activities or exercises mentioned. As an example, if you are a beginner, start out with 5 or 10 minutes at a time, then build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activity. Doing less than 10 minutes at a time won’t give you the desired heart and lung benefits.
Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activity on most or all days of the week. Every day is best. Remember that these are goals, not rules. It’s important to set realistic goals based on your own health and physical abilities.
When you’re ready to move to the next level, build up the amount of time you spend doing endurance activities, then build up the difficulty. For example, gradually increase your time then walk more briskly or up steeper hills. Challenge yourself as you progress.
Modify as You Progress
As your exercises get easier, pick new exercises. This will not only keep your interest but also challenge you. Some examples of endurance exercises can be found on our Endurance Exercise Page.
Listen to your body. Is the activity making you feel unwell or too tired? Endurance activities should not make you breathe so hard that you can’t talk. They should not cause dizziness, chest pain or pressure, or a feeling like heartburn.
Do a little light activity, such as walking before and after your endurance activities to warm up and cool down.
Keep in mind that even though you don’t feel thirsty, your body needs fluids. Be sure to drink liquids when doing any activity that makes you sweat. By the time you notice you are thirsty, you probably are already low on fluid. This guideline is important year round, but it’s especially important in hot weather.
In extreme cases, too much heat can cause heat stroke and very cold temperatures can lead to a dangerous drop in body temperature. If you are going to be outdoors, dress in layers so you can add or remove clothes as needed. When it’s not possible to be outdoors, you may want to try indoor activities:
- Have stairs at home? Go up and down a flight of stairs a few times without stopping.
- Want to go shopping? Walk around the mall or grocery store.
- Near a YMCA or community recreation center? If they have a pool, go for a swim.
Whatever you choose to do, stay safe. To prevent injuries, be sure to use safety equipment. If bicycling, wear a helmet. If walking, watch out for low-hanging branches and uneven sidewalks. Walk during the day, with a friend or in well-lit areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings. And be sure to wear the proper shoes.