Endurance plays a crucial role in fitness, and affects our ability to enjoy activities, like distance running and cycling, for longer periods of time. There are two main types of endurance, aerobic and anaerobic.
Aerobic Endurance: This type of endurance refers to the body’s ability to sustain prolonged low to moderate intensity activity using oxygen as the primary energy source. For this, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems must function effectively to transport oxygen to the muscles.
Anaerobic Endurance: In contrast to aerobic endurance, anaerobic refers to the body's ability to sustain short bursts of high-intensity activity without relying on oxygen as the primary energy source.
Building Aerobic Endurance
Cardiovascular activities like running, cycling and swimming are fundamental when improving aerobic endurance. These activities help to improve the heart’s efficiency, increase lung capacity and boost the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Most research has found that to guarantee increased aerobic activity within 8 to 12 weeks, cardiovascular training should be performed for a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week.
The American Heart Association recommends performing either 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity cardio or a combination of both each week. It’s advised to vary the activities to challenge different muscle groups and the intensity.
Long Distance Training
To build aerobic endurance, you’ll need to incorporate long duration workouts into your routine. Training at a low to moderate intensity for extended periods will help to optimise the way in which the body utilises oxygen, so try varying the length of your workouts.
Building Anaerobic Endurance
Interval training, alternating between short high intensity bursts of exercise and brief recovery periods, is beneficial for both aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
This is because during high-intensity intervals your body relies on the anaerobic metabolism to fulfil the immediate energy demands, whereas during the recovery periods your body switches to the aerobic metabolism to clear waste products. For more on interval training, have a read of our blog All About HIIT and The Benefits.
Resistance training targets and strengthens fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are crucial for anaerobic activities requiring bursts of power. Many resistance training exercises involve explosive movements like jumping or lifting, and drilling these can help to improve your ability to generate and sustain power.
Anaerobic activities are known to produce lactic acid, which can cause discomfort, however resistance training can help improve the body’s ability to tolerate and clear lactic acid, delaying the onset of muscle fatigue during anaerobic exercise.
Aside from maintaining a consistent training schedule, there are a couple of lifestyle factors that will affect your ability to build endurance. Proper nutrition is key to ensure the body has sufficient energy to perform at its best. It’s also important to integrate rest days into your schedule.
When endurance training, the muscles undergo stress and microtrauma, which the body repairs and rebuilds most efficiently during periods of rest. What's more, without rest days, you run the risk of overtraining and injury, which will set back your progress in the long run. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.Ready to tackle a 10km? Get going in our Men’s Running Shorts.