The definition of endurance is the ability of the body to maintain repeated repetitions for long duration, and is an important component of physical fitness.
Endurance is necessary to perform aerobics -- thus, it is essential to achieve cardio-vascular fitness. Endurance training among older individuals can result in a large increase in aerobic power.
Types of endurance activities include: cycling, swimming, hiking, skiing, and marathons.
The strong muscles that enable us to perform for extended periods of time are called slow-twitch muscles. There is also a significant relationship between strength and endurance as it pertains to our overall state of fitness and athletic performance.
Now that you know some of the benefits of endurance, you may be interested in participating in sports that require it.
If you currently have difficulty going at it for the long haul, there are two effective ways to increase your endurance capacity.
The most obvious is to go a bit farther or longer when you train. The not-so-obvious is to include strength training.
Strength training builds endurance by causing the body to adapt to longer demands on the muscles. Because stronger muscles are more efficient, you're able to do the same work with less effort.
One of my favorite weight-training exercises for increased endurance is performing one set of very high repetitions (reps) on occasion (no more than once per month). It's sometimes referred to as “hundreds,” although you should not be able to exceed 100 reps.
These high reps must begin with a surprisingly light weight that starts to feel like a ton after 50 repetitions or more. The goal is to find a weight that allows you to get as close to 100 reps as possible before failure.
Hundreds is an intensive form of weight training, and should not include more than one muscle group during a session. I don’t stop moving because I "feel the burn" as Jane Fonda used to say. The set stops at the point of failure.
I sometimes feel this one for the next day or two. I not only focus on giving that group of muscles a few days to recover, I take care of those sore muscles by staying hydrated, stretching, and relaxing in a hot Epsom salt bath. Of course, my all-time favorite -- a massage.
Performing hundreds is a highly concentrated workout. Recovery is imperative to make gains, particularly as you get older. If you don't allow your muscles to recover, you are tearing the muscles down. In my opinion, hundreds is the very definition of endurance strength training.
Hundreds is not a beginner exercise. If you are new to weight training, a solid strength training program will do just fine.
Interval training is alternating between high intensity and low intensity exercise during the same workout. Maintaining high intensity, even for a short duration, still falls within the definition of endurance training because you're demanding repeated movements until the muscles fatigue.
This form of training enables you to cut your workout time by up to 75%. A fifteen-minute interval workout is equivalent to steady-state endurance running for one hour.
In terms of increasing endurance, coaches of endurance athletes have long recognized that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can enhance endurance performance. One study found that HIIT elicited consistent improvements in already highly-trained cyclists.
According to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine, two weeks of high-intensity interval training improves cardiovascular fitness as much as six to eight weeks of steady-state endurance training.