Stamina Vs Endurance: What's The Difference?

The word endurance is often used in connection with vigorous aerobic exercise, like running. But all exercises involve endurance, as well as another concept — stamina. While the two words seem to be nearly synonymous, there are important differences between stamina and endurance.

Stamina is best defined as the length of time that certain muscles can sustain action at maximum output (via Livestrong). That might be measured in reps or by the clock. By comparison, endurance is measured by the length of time that certain muscles can perform at all, even at a lower output.

For example, one person may not be able to lift as much weight as you, but can lift weight for a higher number of reps. They would be considered to have greater stamina in that muscle group. To define endurance, it's good to look at runners: a sprinter would be interested in building stamina or the ability to complete a short distance as fast as possible. A long-distance runner, on the other hand, is focused on endurance, or how far they can run at any speed.

It's possible to build both endurance and stamina

Increasing both stamina and endurance is possible, and one key is to target your heart and lungs with aerobic exercise, whether that's through cardio or weights, according to Healthline. First, you'll want to know your target heart rate, which should be between 70 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for high-intensity exercise, and 50 to 70 percent of maximum for moderate-intensity exercise. To figure your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.

To build stamina, exercise at high-intensity for as long as you can, until you must stop. To build endurance, you'll exercise at moderate-intensity, but again as long as you can. If you're doing weighted exercise, like lifting free weights, reduce your recovery time to between 30 and 90 seconds between sets to build endurance, according to WebMD.

Both stamina and endurance wane when not consistently challenged, so it's a good idea to incorporate training sessions focused on these important elements of fitness every now and then.