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If your panting, out-of-breath finish to a run leaves something to be desired, it's time to build your stamina. Having an internal source of long-lasting endurance and energy plays a critical role in optimal physical performance whether you're a runner, swimming, biker or simply someone who enjoys the great outdoors and doesn't want to miss a thing due to fatigue. It doesn't matter if you're already an endurance athlete or if you're someone who's just starting out - no matter where you are in terms of physical performance, you can always use a few tips to recharge that internal battery and enhance your stamina.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is always critically important, but especially so if you're exercising in a hot environment. By staying hydrated, you increase your exercise performance and energy and fight off various symptoms of dehydration, including poor blood flow, higher internal temperatures, fatigue and headaches. That's why the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" notes that while it may seem too simple and easy, drinking lots of water may be one of the best ways to boost endurance and physical performance. Because everyone's body is different, learn to measure your fluid loss by weighing yourself before and after you work out. For every pound difference, drink approximately 24 ounces of fluids.
Increase Your Carb Intake
If you're limiting your carbohydrate intake due to concerns about weight gain, and then notice a reduction in physical stamina and performance, the connection may not only be in your head. Your body requires carbohydrates to fuel your muscles, especially during high-intensity exercises like running. If you're taking part in such an activity, note that you'll need to eat around 7 to 10 grams of carbs for every kilogram that you weigh. Focus on nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrates, such as fruits and whole-grain products.
While lean body, endurance-favoring sports such as running and cycling may seem the exact opposite of the kind of bulk-creating athletic performance seen in a gym, incorporating weightlifting into your traditional training may actually boost your long-term endurance and stamina. By increasing your overall muscle mass, you help your body to better cope with endurance sports and the muscle breakdown that often occurs during extended athletic events.
When you're sweating copious amounts of fluids, your body loses important electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride. If these electrolytes aren't replaced, you may experience fatigue, dizziness and other symptoms. For athletes involved in hours-long athletic events such as a marathon, the World Triathlon Corporation recommends adding a couple pinches of table salt to your meals the day prior to your marathon, triathlon or similar event. And while the science is not necessarily conclusive in terms of specific electrolyte dosages, some athletes may find their stamina improves when they eat or drink an electrolyte-enhanced gel or beverage while exercising.
Increase Your Protein
Athletes who consume approximately 2 grams of protein for every pound that they weigh experience higher levels of stamina and physical performance, as well as improved post-workout recovery times, reports "Muscle & Body" magazine. That may be because protein plays a key role in providing the basic enzymes your body needs to adapt to and improve at physical endurance activities.
That morning cup of coffee may do more than just perk you up. It may actually increase stamina. "Muscle & Performance" magazine recommends 200 to 800 milligrams of caffeine before exercising because of its endurance-enhancing properties. This may be due to caffeine's ability to stimulate your nervous system, which in turn may improve physical response and performance. However, side effects of caffeine include sleep disturbance, nausea and an upset stomach.