muscular endurance

Moving into 2021 fitness is becoming an essential part of our lives. To get over the quarantine & chill phase, and lose the extra kilos workout has become a necessity. When talking about a complete fitness workout; it has two components namely: Muscular Endurance and Cardiovascular Endurance or Cardiovascular fitness.  

Muscular endurance is the ability of muscles to strain without getting tired, whereas cardiovascular endurance is the capability of the lungs, heart to fuel the body with enough oxygen.  

What is the difference between Muscular Endurance and Cardiovascular Fitness?

Muscular Endurance is the ability of a group of muscles to perform repetitive actions under a certain resistance for an extended period. More is the muscular endurance; the more number of times a straining action can be performed. This is important if you want to develop enough force and workout for longer periods.  

If we talk of Cardiovascular Fitness also referred to as Cardio or cardiovascular endurance. It involves any form of activity that includes aerobic metabolism. It includes any vigorous activity that progressively challenges the heart, lungs to endure better.  

One might ask:  What is the need for Muscular Endurance when they are already doing Cardio?

Cardio or Cardiovascular Fitness helps in burning calories, improving metabolism, strengthens the heart and lungs for oxygen fuel. But still, it is not enough for muscular strength. One might lose weight and get a slim physique but, toning of muscles for weights, strengthening, and getting better bone density is possible with the help of Muscular Endurance.

Explaining this with an example like sitting up straight for hours, walking long walks is like testing muscular endurance; whereas strength is the lifting and carrying a heavy box, being able to hold a child, pedaling a cycle without getting injured. In the case of cardiovascular fitness, it would mean not being fatigue or complete breathlessness after running, warmup exercise, etc.  

How to Build Muscular Endurance?

It can be built through weight training or calisthenics exercises. Exercises like planks, bodyweight sit-ups, walking lunges, push-ups, sit-ups can be done. These can be done starting with 2-4 times initially and then increasing the number. Aerobic exercises can also be done like jogging, sprints. A good muscular endurance routine should include 30 minutes of these exercises each week including all muscle groups.  

If we talk about Cardiovascular Fitness then a 5 to 15 min pace walk can be a great start. Increase the time according to convenience. Then a warm-up for 5 to 10 mins with low-intensity exercises like high knee, butt lifts, etc. This was followed by high-intensity cardio for around 30 mins. It can include skipping, jumping, etc. Stretch and relax post-workout.

Exercises that are best to start with are:
High knees, butt kicks, lateral shuffles, crab walk, oblique crunches, speed skater, jumping jacks, toe taps.

Then to increase intensity one can start with squat jumps, standing alternate toe touch, box jumping, plank jacks, running, jogging.  

High-intensity exercise would-be mountain climbers, plank ski hops, rotational jacks, diagonal jumps, burpees, trampoline jumps.  

Other common exercises can also be included like:

Skipping, dancing, organized sports, power walk, swimming, boxing, cycling, hiking, rowing, hula hooping, stairs.  

What are the benefit of Muscular Endurance and Cardiovascular fitness individually?

Muscular Endurance including activities like weight training helps in weight control by maintaining the muscle-to-fat ratio, improving body composition, and reducing calories. It also supports bone health, preventing loss of bone mass which leads to weaker bones and fractures.  

Cardiovascular fitness benefits by maintaining heart and lung fitness, reducing heart risks like cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity. 

In addition to this both of these help in maintaining a body condition which can participate in sports like marathons, swimming, tennis, rowing, etc.

Should one change their diet while working out any of the above??

Instead of changing the diet, one can switch to eating healthier. The food we eat regularly can be cooked and consumed more healthily. Having three meals of the day respectively breakfast, lunch, and dinner on time can bring a lot of positive change in metabolism rate. When having pre and post-training food include foods with high-quality protein, healthy fats, fruits, and leafy green vegetables. Consuming whole foods that include a blend of fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. Reduce consumption of deep-fried, oil-soaked meals. This helps in muscle build-up, boosting immunity, growth, reducing inflammation, etc.  

What things can one change in daily lifestyle to have better endurance and fitness?

Very minute things can bring visible changes in one’s life. For someone who cannot exercise daily can turn to these approaches. Like taking a 20-minute walk on rest days, or days one skips a workout.
Switching to stairs instead of lifts, walking short distances instead of taking a cab or bike. Investing in a standing desk it helps burn calories and maintains erect body posture.  If pain or cramp caused during workout seems to be unbearable or shows discoloration then talk to a doctor immediately to avoid any serious injuries.  

Do not starve yourself, keep eating till your stomach is 80% full, and take lighter snacks. Stay hydrated at all times.  

How often can one do both?

It depends on the person on what they want to work on. If someone just wants to lose weight or tone muscles or get abs they will have to make a routine that balances both aspects. For example to lose weight one will need equal amounts of cardio and muscular endurance, whereas for toning muscles a shorter routine for cardio and more time for muscle training will be essential.

A person must train smart in a way to increase stamina for all sorts of workouts and regular chores. Starting with a low-intensity exercise, then moving to a high-intensity routine is the best way to ace it. Not losing the will and working hard each day with the required amount of relaxation can lead to a healthy lifestyle.

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