last comment: 19/03/08

Fitness and Endurance

This is the playground I dreaded most. I guess I became a 'strong' girl because since my school days I was a bit crap in sports. All the school sports usually has to do with running or playing team games.

I have short legs - that excluded the running, especially because we had to run against each other.

I am a girl - that excludes most of the team games as they have to do with balls. No offence to the girls who are able to throw a ball properly. But I belong to the rather big group of 'girly throwers'.

In other athletics I wasn't too bad, but they only were on at summer, in winter it was back to the team games.

I went swimming a lot with my family, so I'm a not too bad swimmer. But it's all rather wet and needs a lot of time and I'm sneezing from the chlorine, what spoils it a bit.

Then I did Judo, and a bit of Karate when I was about 10, but I got hurt quite a bit and I didn't like that either. And all that sweating, ...

Oh yes, and then the dreaded jogging sessions, first with my parents in the woods around my home, then later on the sports ground of the University or around the little lake where we used to live. Until there was a guy with his pants down what scared me off running in the nature. Probably I was even happy not having to run anymore. I was fit then, but I didn'd enjoy it a bit.

So, what has changed?

I know a lot more!

My attitude towards fitness has changed. Earlier I wanted to become fit in the hope to loose weight, what only works to an extent. My body adjusted so well that after a few weeks I didn't loose a bit anymore. Now I want to be fit - to be fit! I want a body in full working order and for that I have to be able to walk a standard staircase without having to breath like a steam engine.

I learned that 'fitness' and 'endurance' are two different pairs of shoes (I don't know what that is: either I'm doing a list or my thoughts revolve around shoes).

However: If we normal people think about fitness it's usually climbing a hill or running some miles.

What about 100m sprinters?

They are fit people, aren't they? Let them run 10 km and they will not perform that well. So usually fitness and endurance go together, but they don't necessarily have to.

First thing you would have to find out for yourself is what sort of fitness you are after:

Fitness = Cardiovascular Fitness = Strong Heart

Cardiovascular fitness is about how well your heart is able to pump blood through your body and supply oxygen to the muscles.

For that your heart has to be a strong muscle to give the blood a good push. There are two ways to achieve that:

Type A: you can run, bike, swim, walk ... with increasing distance and speed. Your heart will learn to adjust and over time become stronger and more and more efficient.

  • It is increasingly time consuming the better you get.
  • You will burn more calories at the beginning, but the more efficient the body becomes the less you will burn.
  • You will develop endurance muscles on your body.

Type B: you can do some sort of 'weight lifting' for the heart. You run or skip for a short period - let's say a minute - as hard as you can, and then you recover for 2 minutes max. while walking slowly. Then you go as hard as possible again. You do this 5 times. After 15 minutes altogehter you go home.

  • The better you get you will increase the severity of your exercise, but not the time. It is extremely time efficient and the fitness effect kicks in very quickly.
  • You will not burn a lot of calories.
  • You will not develop endurance muscles.
Endurance = Strong Legs
Endurance is mainly about how well your body muscles - usually the legs - are working, and how well they use the oxygen supplied by the heart.

To have good endurance muscles you will have to run, bike, swim, walk... with increasing distance and speed. At the same time you will train your cardiovascular system as well.


From this rather technical stuff we can take that if you just want to feel fitter, don't have a lot of time and hate the exhaustion, being knackered bit of fitness training - then do Type B exercise. Additionally this type compliments weight training the best. The reasons will be explained in the 'Being Strong' section.

If you like the idea of being able to get from A to B by not using the car then you will have to do Type A/Endurance training. Doing so you will have to plan your training according to the two sections. One session run, bike, swim, walk... medium distance fast to train your cardiovascular fitness, the next session do so for a longer distance but slowly to get your body muscles exhausted.

Which fitness sport to choose?

Although I am a 'strong' lady I decided to go for the type A fitness, basically due to my enrolment for 'Race for Life'. This meant training for a 5km run. And now I love running, I really do. But I didn't run straight away. Only because mankind has two legs doesn't mean that we are naturally made for running. Another thing I learned is that I didn't like running because I did it wrong. There will be an article on running style shortly.

My first approach to fitness sport was power walking - a highly recommendable thing even for people who are fit already. I will write an article about how to do it shortly.

Gym classes are an entirely different story. They are so manyfold that I will write about those in another article.

Articles on Training

Norwich Half Marathon 08
Race for Life 2008
Rowing League 07/08
Imola: MH 10K, 07
Rika: Race for Life 07

Ballet for Oldies
Training Plan 2008
Boxing vs. Kickboxing
What Sport to Choose?
An Experiment
Good Use for Chocolate

Being Strong
Women and Strength?
Why Muscles?
Lucky Number 12
Ladies are Stronger!

Being Fit
Rowing - Fantastic Sport

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Copyright 2007
Author: Rika