The 4 Phases to Build and Defend Endurance
What is Endurance?
We think of it as training our aerobic system – so think lungs and oxygen – and higher efficiency in oxygen metabolism - how we use oxygen in the body.
1. Increase Mitochondria Number
But there’s more to it than that. We need more components in our body that increase energy stores. Mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, increase in number and size, for example. If you increase your mitochondria, you increase your ability to produce ATP. Exercise, proteins, nuts and magnesium all support that.
2. Protect Mitochondria
We also think about the number of negative byproducts you’re producing. So over the course of the day or a workout, your body is going to produce reactive oxygen species and lactic acid, and things that are destructive to your body and to your mitochondria. We need to decrease these destructive things to increase endurance. Omega 3, vitamins and nut oils and hydrotherapy all support protect your mitochondria.
3 Sleep & The Emotional Piece
There’s a mental emotional piece too. From a day to day endurance perspective, we can get to this place where our body experiences stress, and eventually burnout. This plays into the mental emotional piece of exhaustion. Is that you don’t have enough ATP? Maybe if you’re physically exhausting yourself. But there’s also a brain piece that’s controlled by something called the reticular activating system. This is the part of the brain that controls your sleep/wake cycle and is affected by all sorts of neurotransmitters.
4. Immunity to Keep Going
Finally, just like our muscles, the immune system needs mitochondrial efficiency that produces ATP that it uses too.
In fact, the relationship between exercise and physical endurance and the immune system is bi-directional. Not only does having a healthy immune system increase our physical endurance, exercise also improves immunity. Moderate exercise is anti-inflammatory.
So ideally, if you’re going to have more endurance, you need to 1) increase energy via mitochondria, 2) decrease the things that hurt mitochondria like oxidative stress, and 3) have positive impact on the neurotransmitters that affect the RAS and 4) lower inflammation.