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  • Oars + Alps

As the snow (mostly!) melts outside our Chicago headquarters, the Oars + Alps team is eager to bring our sweat outside. If you, like us, could use a new goal to strive for, join us for our bi-annual Alps Challenge. This Spring we’re focused on all things endurance: what it is, why it’s important, how to build it, and more. 

Oars + Alps Chief Fitness Officer Matt Wilpers will be providing his best coaching tips for how to improve your endurance. Plus, one lucky Oarsman will have the chance to win a one-on-one coaching session from Team Wilpers for a personalized fitness assessment and recommendations to reach your fitness goals. Visit our Instagram profile to enter!

Matt Wilpers running

What Is Endurance?

So what do we mean by endurance? Merriam-Webster defines endurance as ‘the ability to withstand hardship or adversity, especially…a prolonged stressful effort or activity.’ In the context of sport, endurance usually refers to long aerobic efforts, those that utilize oxygen to produce energy (as opposed to less sustainable anaerobic activities that produce energy without oxygen). Distance running, cycling, and swimming come to mind, but you also rely on and build endurance through long, low-to-moderate efforts while weight-lifting, dancing, or walking the dog.

Can You Improve Your Endurance?

The good news is that like wisdom, fine wine, and advice your parents gave you as a teenager, endurance has the potential to get better with age. A study in Journal GeroScience noted significant improvements in finishing times among men aged 44 and over competing in the Hawaii Ironman. Moreover, researchers reported in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine that the muscles of 60-75 year old endurance athletes performed more effectively and efficiently than those of younger athletes (age 18-39) with a similar training regimen.

So want to mix in some endurance building alongside those HIIT workouts you’ve been doing? Read on to learn how athletes like Matt Wilpers begin an endurance training regimen. And make sure that as your workouts get longer, your grooming routine can keep up.

Building Your Endurance: Challenge 1

A common mistake athletes make when starting endurance training is going too hard and passing your body’s lactate threshold, or, put simply, the point at which you switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Endurance is built in the aerobic zone.

This week we challenge you to perform multiple workouts at your ‘easy’ or ‘Zone 2: Aerobic’ pace. You can use a 30-minute running, biking, or swimming ‘test’ like these to estimate your aerobic zone with a heart rate monitor or power meter (1).

Alternatively, simply rely on perceived exertion to determine your aerobic pace: ‘“Easy riding [zone one] is where you can talk and breathe, and you can speak in sentences. Then you have a sustainable threshold where you can pronounce a few words [zone two], and then above that is the red zone, where you’re speechless [zone three].”’ (2)

Hint: it will feel easy, but keep at it, and you’ll notice even your easy pace getting faster. Let us know on social how you fair doing endurance workouts in your ‘aerobic’ zone!

Products for the Long Haul

Our products are designed for the active individual, so of course we have recommendations if you're committing to an endurance routine. Each week we'll point out a couple and why they're great for those who exercise. 

Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Our non-sticky, cornstarch-based formula dries quickly and absorbs excess moisture while reducing friction from hair and inflammation that comes from movement.

Matt Wilpers holding Oars + Alps Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Superfoliant Body Scrub

For a deep clean after a long run, gym sesh, or commute, grab our new Superfoliant Body Scrub. Not only will sulfate-free cleansers wash away dirt and grime, but Glycolic and Lactic Acids help reduce pimples, blackheads, and roughness.

Oars + Alps Superfoliant Body Scrub

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