Endurance has a widely used term by trainers and fitness enthusiasts to define the purpose of training. By the word ‘endurance’, some people think about muscular endurance and others simply want to be capable of running or cycling for long-distances.
Basically, endurance is your body’s ability to exert consistent force for a prolonged period of time.
There is no one-step solution when it comes to the development of better endurance, you are required to follow a systematic approach that can help you develop better mental and physical endurance over time.
Before we talk about “how to improve cardiovascular endurance” it’s important to understand “why you need to work on endurance”. Here is why:
- Endurance training not only helps you maintain a healthy bodyweight but also improves strength, flexibility, conditioning, coordination, heart health, and cognitive functioning.
- Strengthens immune system: A study conducted to investigate the effects of moderate aerobic training in elderlies for 6-months. Participants, who were made to do moderate aerobic activities were found to have improved immune system strength.
- Recover faster: Even if you love strength training, paying emphasis on endurance can help you recover faster. Aerobic activity enhances the recovery rate by clearing lactate buildup and enhanced phosphocreatine regeneration.
Now, let’s have a detailed discussion on the tips to improve cardiovascular endurance.
8 Tips To Improve Endurance:
Consistency is the key
Practice, practice, and practice is the key to achieve a better version of yourself.
If you want to get better in maths then you need to consistently practice mathematical equations, if you want to improve your strength then you need to stay consistent with your strength training and if you want to improve your endurance then you need to stay consistent with endurance training. Maintaining consistency is surely the first step towards improving endurance.
Putting your body out of its comfort zone on a consistent basis is a sure-shot key to develop better endurance. It will develop your aerobic base, increase the ability to deliver oxygenated blood and strengthen your muscles.
You can’t simply expect to improve cardiovascular endurance by simply sitting on that couch all day long. The human body adapts to the added stress by developing into a stronger and reliant version.
Consistency doesn't necessarily mean that you need to run 10-miles every day, it means that you stick to the training protocol and diet plan given by your coach.
Train your mind
Exhaustion only occurs when your mind decides to quit, not when your muscles reach peak fatigue, we are not saying this, but the papers published at the Journal of Medical & Science in Sports & Exercise assumes that! This study is the first to demonstrate that positive Self Talks significantly reduces the rate of fatigue and enhances endurance performance.
Training for long endurance sports involves a lot of mental strength. Professional athletes train their mind to reach their body’s peak performance. Here are the top tips to train your mind for better endurance:
- Control your thoughts to control the reality: Shut down the negative thoughts that say things like this “This is boring,” or “I can’t do this,” or “I can not complete the distance”.
- Visualize: Once you learn to shut down the negative thoughts it’s time to visualize the higher purpose of life. Visualize the post-training satisfaction, visualize the purpose of your training, visualize the dreams that keep you going.
- Pre-run routine: getting your mind ready for long endurance training requires a pre-run routine that can support your brain to set a tone. Most of the pro athletes have a set of rituals that they follow before every run, it might be taking a nap or drinking a cup of coffee, Warm-ups & stretches, etc.
- Practice Meditation: Staying in the present moment can help you concentrate on the training a lot better. Consistent meditation can help to reduce negative thoughts, improve your ability to visualize, and reduces stress.
Alter your training
Taxing your body with long endurance sessions on a daily basis may lead to injuries.
Altering between training routines can effectively help not only improve the cardiovascular system but also improve strength and body composition. Here is the different type of training you can choose from:
- Long-distance training: long-distance training is a must when you want to train for improved endurance. With long-distance endurance training, the body adapts itself to produce ATP(Energy) through aerobic metabolism.
Tempo training: It consists of training at a little higher intensity than the normal pace. Whether you are a runner, cyclist of any other endurance athlete, tuning the intensity slightly higher can help you have better endurance.
Tempo running usually lasts for 20-30 minutes.
Interval training: A kind of training that includes short & intense bursts of physical efforts followed by a short rest period.
For example, Interval training running involves 15-secs of sprint sessions followed by a 90-secs rest period. Repeating the process 8-10 times.
Fartlek training: It’s a kind of training when you train at your gradual pace but routinely increase the intensity for a fixed duration and then get back to a normal pace.
Example: If you run at a speed of 8mph then you increase the speed to 10mph for a few minutes and then reduce the speed back to 8mph.
Strength training should not be neglected even while training for endurance. Actually, one of the best ways to improve your endurance is to add some muscular support.
Combination of resistance training and cardio training providing the required muscular support for longer training sessions.
For example: If you are looking to improve your cycling endurance then training your legs twice a week will improve your body’s ability to push harder.
Endurance training requires a consistent supply of energy which can be a little tricky to execute properly.
Instead of eating a bowl of pasta, I suggest you have an oatmeal with a scoop of whey protein in it. Oats are high quality carbs that provide sustained energy for a longer period, adding a scoop of whey protein ensures the prevention of muscle catabolization.
You can also have protein bars specially designed to fuel your long training hours. Additionally, supplementing with BCAAs and electrolytes will keep you energized throughout the training sessions.
Emphasize on Recovery
Many people have been concerned about improving physical performance but very few are worried about the proper recovery.
Good recovery comes from a good diet, stretching, and sufficient sleep.
Improper recovery may lead to injuries that will keep you off from consistent training.
How to Accelerate recovery?
Post-workout meal: Post-workout meals are definitely the most important aspect of accelerated recovery. After a long and intense training session, your body is deprived of glycogen reserves and protein. Having a meal high in carbohydrates and protein is a good way to initiate the recovery process.
Intra workout: Sipping your EAAs or BCAAs can prevent muscle catabolization and fuel your body with essential electrolytes.
Night ritual: Maximum recovery process happens while you sleep. Reducing stress levels by mindful meditation and supplementing with herbs that are proven to improve sleep will definitely help you recover faster.
Massage guns: Lactate buildup and muscle cramps are normal while long and exhaustive endurance runs. Using Massage guys to clear the lactate and reduce stiffness can certainly help in preventing injuries.
EPSOM bath: EPSOM bath not only supplements your body with required magnesium but also helps your muscle relax and assist in improved sleep quality.
Supplement it right
Yes, there are a bunch of supplements that can actually help you improve the quality of endurance training sessions. Supplements can be categorized into the following four categories.
- Muscle endurance: Supplementing for additional muscle support can certainly improve your endurance, supplementing with BCAA and Whey protein is surely a top choice.
- Energy supplements: Improved endurance is about mental clarity too, supplementing with natural pre-workout can help you feel more motivated and focused while run.
- Muscle recovery: Digestive health has always been neglected by people, Supplementing with ProBiotics, and Body Detoxificant may assist in better absorption of nutrients that leads to better performance.
Work on Vo2 Max
What is Vo2 Max? It’s a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during an exercise. Oxygen supply plays a crucial role in your cardiovascular fitness and measuring the Vo2 max is also considered the gold standard for measuring someone’s cardiovascular fitness.
Vo2 Max largely depends on genetics but proper training can help in increasing the Vo2 max.
Here is how you can improve your Vo2 max:
- HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training has been proven very effective in improving the body’s Vo2 max capabilities. HIIT trains your heart to pump maximum blood with every stroke which allows a better supply of oxygenated blood to the body.
- Fartlek training: As we discussed earlier, Fartlek training involves continuously changing the pace of the workout. This type of training has also been used by elite athletes to improve their body’s ability to supply oxygen more efficiently.
Switching between various high-intensity workouts: Every training pattern challenges your body in different ways. Involving yourself in a wide range of training methods can help in dodging plateaus and improve body conditioning.
You can periodically switch between high-intensity strength training, cycling, running, swimming or kickboxing, etc.
There is no magic serum that can help you gain cardiovascular endurance overnight, you need to stay consistent with the training, diet, and recovery.
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