Developing your strength and endurance is not only important for your exercise routine or athletic aspirations, but it’s also equally important for performing daily activities, especially as you age.
The better your muscular strength and endurance, the easier it is for your body to move and perform day-to-day activities. For example, simple tasks such as opening doors, lifting boxes, climbing stairs, or working in your yard without getting easily tired or winded are examples of daily activities that are easier when you have good strength and endurance.
Additionally, muscular strength and endurance can help reduce your risk of injury, can help you maintain a healthy weight, can help prevent bone loss as you age, and enables you to participate in more activities and types of exercise because you’ll have more energy. The stronger and more fit you are, the better you will feel about yourself.
What is muscular endurance?
Think of muscular endurance in terms of stamina. Essentially, muscular endurance is the ability of a specific muscle in your body, or groups of muscles, to exert force repetitively and consistently over a period of time. All sports, such as swimming or long-distance running, and all types of exercise require muscular endurance. But you don’t have to be a marathon runner to improve your muscular endurance. There are lots of exercises that can help you improve your strength and endurance, and many do not require special equipment and can be done at home.
How to improve muscular endurance
Exercise that improves strength and endurance involves resistance training. The best way to improve muscular endurance, especially for beginners or non-athletes, is to use lighter weights and a higher number of repetitions. The types of exercises you do should focus on working large muscle groups, such as the legs or back, or working multiple muscle groups, such as your arms or core. If you belong to a gym or have access to weights at home, you can use free weights or machines for your strength training. Working with a trainer at your gym to get started on a strength training routine can be helpful especially for a beginner by helping you learn to use proper form to avoid injury.
If you don’t belong to a gym, there are plenty of other ways you can exercise to your improve muscular endurance at home. This series of five simple exercises using your own body weight as resistance can help you improve muscular endurance when performed several days per week on a consistent basis.
- Plank – Perform five repetitions holding for 30-45 seconds each time.
- Squats – Perform five sets of 25 reps. Be sure to maintain proper form with your chest out and shoulders back, and making sure your knees do not reach over your feet.
- Walking lunges – Perform five sets of 30 lunges (15 on each leg per set), and again, be sure to watch your form.
- Push-ups – Perform five sets of 15 reps. If full push-ups are too much for you to start, you can modify the push-up by bending your knees and work up to full form push-ups as your strength improves.
- Sit-ups – Perform five sets of 25 reps lying on a yoga mat with legs bent, feet flat on the floor, and your hands supporting your neck with elbows bent to the sides.
Other tips for improving muscular endurance
There are some other simple ways you can improve your strength and fitness level that you can incorporate into your daily routine apart from exercise. For example, start taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. Or if your office is close enough, walk or bike to work. If that’s not possible, use your lunch hour to get some steps in by walking to pick up lunch or grabbing a co-worker to join you on a short walk during your lunch break.
These suggestions are even more important if your job requires you to sit at a desk most of the day; getting up to move regularly can benefit not only your physical health, but also your mental health and mood as well. Another suggestion for office workers is to request a standing desk at work or invest in a standing desk if you work from home. Standing burns more calories than sitting all day and encourages a more active work environment.