“I’m so tired” is a common phrase we hear every day.
Tiredness is one of the main excuses people cite for staying away from exercise.
All of us go through the hustle of life, and while some are dead beat at the end of the day, others are brimming with energy.
Whether you’re carting your grocery bags, chasing your kids around or training for a marathon, stamina – both physical and mental – is something we all need to survive.
The words stamina and endurance are used interchangeably and basically refers to the ability to sustain a physical or mental effort for long periods without experiencing fatigue and exhaustion.
Low stamina levels can be attributed to several factors, including poor or unhealthy eating habits, drinking too much caffeine and alcoholic beverages, dehydration, lack of sleep, too much stress, excessive exercise or sheer laziness from leading a sedentary lifestyle.
An energy slump can also be caused by the common flu, allergies, pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, thyroid problems or by cancer patients undergoing treatment.
Studies show that a slight magnesium deficiency can affect your stamina as this mineral plays a key role in breaking glucose down into energy.
Experiencing constant muscle aches, cramps and fatigue are some of the signs that you might not be getting enough magnesium.
So, load up on dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, soybeans, avocado, bananas and dark chocolates, which are good sources of magnesium.
If you’ve been facing an energy zap lately, boosting your endurance might be just the thing for recovering your zing.
Far too many people put exercise last on their priority scale, so it’s not surprising that these same people are the ones who complain of being too tired to exercise.
We all make time for what we feel is important in our lives, and sadly, it’s only when calamity strikes that one is jolted to take action.
Ironically, as bushed as you may be, working out is one of the best ways to increase your stamina.
Something as simple as walking can do wonders to increase your lung capacity and strengthen the heart muscles.
Start with baby steps, and bit by bit, increase the intensity or walk up a hill.
If you can do this two or three times a week, you should be able to feel a difference in your stamina within two weeks.
For the initiated, this may sound a little crazy, but doing less is more! Incorporate high intensity interval training into your workout.
Combined with traditional training, it vastly improves endu-rance levels, but be sure to get plenty of rest after these workouts.
Weight or resistance training is another must-do on the list.
Resistance training can strengthen the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. It helps improve overall fitness.
You can opt to use your own body weight (i.e. push ups, squats, crunches, planks, etc) or add on free weights for the extra push.
You might feel tired while doing these exercises, and here is where the power of the mind comes in and your mental stamina is tested.
If you want to increase stamina, you have to push a little instead of stopping short.
Giving up is easy when the going gets tough, so you have to be willing and determined.
Yes, some days are better than others, but you’ve got to have staying power to improve.
Another stamina-boosting method that some people swear by and one I haven’t attempted myself is oil pulling.
Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is a ritual that is done by swishing a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut, olive or sesame oil) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes after you awaken in the morning.
Oil pulling works by cleaning (detoxifying) the oral cavity in a similar way that soap cleans dirty dishes.
It literally sucks the dirt (toxins) out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic environment to prevent cavities and disease.
When the immune system does the work of clearing out toxic waste from the body, it has an impact on your energy level.
Breathing is something we take for granted – it doesn’t have to be taught (or re-taught), yet so many people do not know how to breathe “correctly”!
Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing or deep breathing is another way to help restore energy levels.
When more oxygen enters the body, it has a calming effect on your mind and body.
In addition, it helps fight stress and anxiety that often take a toll on your energy.
The easiest way to do this is to lie down in a comfortable position, place your hands on the abdomen and start breathing slowly through your nose.
Every time you inhale, the belly will rise and every time you exhale, the belly should fall.
If you observe young children, this is what they do naturally.
However, in adults, the belly tends to contract during the inhalation and expand during the exhalation, which means that the volume of oxygen entering the body is minimal.
But, if you’ve tried everything and your endurance level is still low and you’re struggling to climb up the stairs, it’s time to consult your medical practitioner, as there could be some underlying health problem.
Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to battle gravity and continues to dance, but longs for some bulk and flesh in the right places. She’s planning on bidding adieu to the stage this year with a final performance. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.