Endurance can be defined as the ability to do something for long periods of time, and in order to improve endurance, generally an activity needs to be repeated over a period in increasing blocks of time. To improve running endurance, for example, a runner can begin by jogging around the block, continue by jogging two blocks, and set a goal to run three blocks for a week. Each added bit of distance can add endurance over time. Similar methods improve endurance in other sports, performing arts, and outdoor activities. With added time toward an activity, improving overall health and lifestyle typically are complementary to enhanced performance.
Setting a goal often is the first step to improve endurance. If an individual enjoys walking and hopes to complete a 5-mile (8 km) charity walk in coming months, it may be helpful to measure improvement by setting benchmarks for training on a calendar. It can be very difficult to adjust from walking 1 mile (1.6 km) to 4 miles (6.4 km) in a matter of days, but adding .5 mile (.8 km) per day for a week, for instance, can lead to the 5-mile goal (8 km) with less noticeable strain or physical impact on the body.
Hoping to improve endurance can come from noticing a lack of ability to do something. A climber or hiker may try enjoying a trek through a national forest only to find exhaustion midway through a trail. Increased aerobic activity and improved diet and stretching may be steps toward a longer, more enjoyable hike or climb on the next outing.
Completing a long bike race, marathon, or triathlon can be a significant life goal for some. In order to complete such events, typically it is essential to improve endurance by training and preparing the body. Biking, running, and swimming are needed components, but other aerobic activities on treadmills or cross-training machines, for example, also can benefit the heart rate and muscle tone of competitors.
Some individuals aspire to improve endurance in order to lose weight, to participate more fully as parents of young children, or to take advantage of recreation opportunities with friends. Starting slow, with realistic expectations, often helps to set a pattern of exercise or diet changes that can yield large improvements in the long term. Something as simple as a neighborhood bike ride can go a long way to improved endurance when repeated out of enjoyment as well as with health in mind.