What Is Stamina in Sport?

Marathon running develops stamina.
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Stamina in sports is the ability to keep exercising for a long period of time or to still give it your all even after you have been exercising for a long time. All sports require stamina, although some sports, such as marathon running, require more stamina than others, such as playing cricket. Athletes in peak physical condition have a high degree of stamina because their hearts, lungs and muscles are all functioning at a high level of efficiency. If you have stamina, you will be able to concentrate fully on your athletic performance, because fatigue will not distract you.


According to the Mayo Clinic, having good stamina improves your physical well-being. Athletic conditioning protects the heart from disease, increases your body's natural immunity, decreases the likelihood of contracting chronic ailments such as high blood pressure or Type II diabetes, and helps you live longer with a better quality of life. Being in great shape means you will be able to outperform opponents. Mental benefits include a happier mood due to increased endorphin levels when you are exercising.


Increasing your stamina allows your muscles to work more efficiently. Endurance training increases your lung capacity, allowing you to take in more oxygen whenever you breathe. It also strengthens the heart, allowing it to beat faster, pumping all of this oxygen very quickly to your muscle fibers. Because their internal systems are so efficient, professional athletes have low resting heart rates and they can achieve a higher training heart rate during their workouts.


Stamina is measured with a VO2 max test administered by a doctor or a certified fitness professional. Physiologists J.H. Wilmore and D.L. Costill explain in “Physiology of Sport and Exercise: 3rd Edition," that the more you exercise, the more oxygen you use, up to a certain point. After this point, you can increase your intensity, but you will not take in any more oxygen. This is your V02 max. Athletes have a much higher V02 max than nonathletes. A 35-year-old male nonathlete has a V02 max of 39 to 48, for example, whereas a rower of the same age has about twice this capacity.


Increase your stamina through aerobic activity. Alternating exercises at your maximum capacity with a more moderate level of exercise increases the body's ability to exert short-term bursts of energy when required. Typical exercises used with this strategy are running alternated with jogging or as an alternative, skipping interspersed with running in place. Engaging in moderate-intensity exercises consistently for a long time, such as when you swim or run a marathon, increases the amount of time you can endure one activity.

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