For new runners or those planning to start a healthy gym habit, the terms "stamina" and "endurance" may seem like they refer to the same thing: being fit enough to run for long periods.
However, the truth is that these two have subtle differences that will come into play when doing cardio training. Without further ado, let us break down what separates stamina from endurance.
Stamina and endurance
Stamina is the physical and mental ability to perform at max capacity near it for an extended period. People often liken stamina to feeling energetic or peppy while doing physical activities.
On the other hand, endurance is associated with the body's physical capacity to sustain an exercise for a long time and has two components: muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance.
Muscular endurance is the muscle's ability to work continuously without feeling exhausted, while cardiovascular endurance is the ability of the lungs and heart to pump oxygen into the body.
From a scientific perspective, stamina defines the body's ability to output energy, while endurance is more so on its capacity to deliver sufficient oxygen to the muscles during exercise. Another way to think about these two is that stamina maximises output while endurance maximises your time to perform an activity continuously.
For instance, sprinters need to build enough stamina to finish a 100m dash as they demand maximum energy output from their bodies. In contrast, distance runners do the same running movement, yet do it at a more sustainable yet slower pace, which calls for endurance to last much longer.
Training for enhancing stamina
To improve stamina, one must train in a way that leads to overexertion. Muscle failure typically occurs once the body reaches the point where it can no longer supply enough oxygen to the muscles.
However, after some recovery time, the body gradually heals in response to the heightened demand to better handle the same level of high exertion next time.
Some of the best exercises for training stamina include high-intensity sprint intervals, strength training with low reps and heavy weights, or performing any task at maximum output at a set time.
Training for enhancing endurance
The pace is everything, as far as endurance is concerned. Although endurance can be related to the exercises mentioned above, the goal here is not to overexert yourself, but to do the activities for an extended period of time. For instance, weight lifting is generally associated with stamina and strength. However, there is also a thing called strength endurance.
In strength endurance, instead of doing six reps of bicep curls with 14 kg weights which increases stamina, endurance entails being capable of doing 20 reps with something lighter, such as 8 kg weights.
Similarly, instead of sprinting for 100 metres, you should train to be able to run for 3–4 km at a steady pace. In short, endurance training involves doing activities at an intensity that stays below the threshold where your body can no longer supply enough oxygen.
Unless you are preparing for a specific sport or event like a marathon, most fitness enthusiasts will find that training their stamina and endurance is the best way to achieve optimal health.
Therefore, alternate between running for several kilometres on some days and doing sprint repeats on others. Find the right balance that works best for you and stick to it.
If you need an expert's guidance on improving your stamina and endurance and maximising your cardio sessions, sign up for our monthly gym membership. With the membership, you can access personal training facilities in Singapore and arrange with your freelance personal trainer to use our premises for your fitness plan. For more details, feel free to explore our website or contact us.