Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Exercise Intolerance

woman resting after exercise intolerance

Want to know about exercise intolerance and its remedies?

Some of us, feel very exhausted when we do exercise or some strenuous work. Though this is very irritating, we can come out of this situation in a short time.

What Is Exercise Intolerance?

Whenever we exercise, the body is physically strained. Besides, the muscles get tired. Subsequently, the rate of breathing also goes up and it is all very normal.

Some individuals develop exercise intolerance. It means the body is not able to tolerate exercise.

Even doing simple exercise is a big challenge. Because of extreme fatigue that sets in. The situation is because of metabolic disorder, mitochondrial disease or diastolic heart failure.

The prominent cause of this is diastolic heart failure. In short, the heart cannot fill itself with sufficient blood during the diastole. Specifically, the left ventricle loses its flexibility. Moreover, it develops rigidity. As a result, during the relaxed stage of the heartbeat, blood does not get filled well. Effectively, the quantity of blood pumped to the body reduces. So, the oxygen and nutrient supply to the body goes down.

This tires out the body very fast. Malnutrition and lower oxygen supply take their toll on body performance.

men holding his hear the - dangers of intolerance

The Signs And Symptoms Of Exercise Intolerance According To Healthline

Apart from feeling extremely tired, there are other symptoms also in the case of exercise intolerance. In general, the person suffering from exercise intolerance may exhibit all or some of the following signs:

  1. Breathing becomes difficult – Low blood supply gets less oxygen. Hence, the breathing becomes very shallow. Consequently, short breath is not able to suffice the oxygen requirement of the body.
  2. Severe muscle fatigue – Even the slightest exertion is enough to tire the person. However, the tiredness is not a normal one, where after resting you will be okay. In this case, even after resting, the person feels extremely tired.
  3. The person feels nauseating – The uneasiness increases to such an extent that the affected person feels nauseating and vomits. As a result, tiredness increases still more.
  4. In some cases, muscle cramps – Generally, muscle cramps when it is overworked. Because of overworking, it falls short of rest and nutrients. But in this case, even with the slightest strain, the muscle gets into cramps. Thereupon, the cramped muscle loses its ability to function normally.
  5. Muscle fatigue/tenderness – The muscle wears out completely. Moreover, the exhaustion is to such an extent that severe pain develops in the muscles. Consequently, it becomes touch-sensitive.
  6. The heart rate does not increase with activity – Whenever a person indulges in any physical activity, the heart rate increases. As the intensity of the activity picks up, the heart rate also shoots. But in the case of a person suffering from diastolic heart failure, the heart rate does not rise even if the person is engaged in some physical activity. It is really a worrisome situation.

The Underlying Causes Of Diastolic Heart Failure

There are several reasons for the inability of the heart to fill its ventricle fully with blood according to WebMD. Out of which some of them are lifestyle reasons, and some are medical situations.

  1. Sedentary lifestyle – Very few physical activities. Not much walking around. Having a desk job are all typical of a sedentary lifestyle. When there is a minimal activity, the heart is never exerted and pushed to pump more. As a result, it maintains just a regular heart rate. And eventually ‘forgets’ how to pump hard. If once in a while it is demanded to pump harder, the heart fails to do so. On the whole, it is one of the significant reasons for diastolic heart failure.
  2. Hypertension – High blood pressure is prevalent these days. It is a result of the blood vessel thickening. Eventually, this thickening of the blood vessels stresses the heart.
  3. Coronary heart disease – The existence of some heart disease is also a reason for diastolic heart failure.
  4. Excessive smoking – This weakens the lungs and, in turn, also deteriorates the heart muscles. After all, the tar, nicotine, and other harmful substance in the cigarette, messes up the heart altogether. As a result, the breath becomes shorter, and the person starts panting.
  5. Atrial fibrillation – Irregular and very high heartbeat results in this condition. Furthermore, it can lead to stroke, as well.
  6. Diabetes/obesity – A heavy and bulky body makes the job of the heart very difficult. Besides, it finds it challenging to push blood through a vast mass. Clearly, it is also one of the reasons for heart failure.
  7. Breathing disturbances in sleep can lead to heart failure.

Avoiding Exercise Intolerance

It is for sure that we should avoid exercise intolerance. It is not at all a healthy situation. Not able to do anything physically strenuous will shortchange our life to a great extent.

We can take the following steps to avoid intolerance:

  1. Many people think that if exercise does not suit us, let us not do it.
    This thinking is very wrong. In no circumstances should we stop exercising.We should do a sensible exercise. Take sufficient rest in between workouts. As soon as we feel a little tired, we should rest and then, after some time, starts exercising again. It adapts and teaches the heart to beat faster without overloading it.We can go for low-intensity circuit training. This is a series of exercises. They need to be executed in a fixed order. Circuit training has improved the tolerance of many patients.
  2. Rest in between exercises. We should not do our exercises strenuously. Listen to the body carefully. In case it begins to tire, stop, and rest. Then again, continue. Do not push the body beyond its limits.
  3. It will be much better to do exercise under the supervision of some expert or trained therapist.The idea is to push the body gradually and increase the capacity of the heart.

What Is A Positive Exercise Tolerance Test?

Positive Exercise Tolerance Test is a medical diagnostic test to determine the state of the heart. Whenever the body engages in physical activity, the heart has to work harder.

The positive exercise tolerance test is a treadmill exercise test. The subject is fitted with several probes on his chest to sense the working of the heart. Blood pressure testing equipment is also latched on to his body.

Then, a person is asked to run on the treadmill. All the probes and sensors are connected to an online system that continually monitors the situation of the heart.

Gradually the inclination and speed of the treadmill are increased, and its effect on the subject tested.

There are various stages in the test. If the previous test results are good, the subject undergoes the next test. Effectively the response of the heart to physical strain is tested. The results indicate if the subject is suffering from diastolic heart failure or not.

How Can I Increase My Tolerance For Exercise?

The two main reasons for exercise intolerance are:

  • Lifestyle
  • Some underlying medical situations

To treat the heart or associated diseases, medical treatment is advised. The advance stage of the medical disorder may warrant a surgical procedure. Consult your doctor and follow his advice on this.

However, the primary cause of exercise intolerance is a sedentary lifestyle. We should try to change our lifestyle. In effect, we should get into active and healthy living. The following care and precautions can increase our tolerance for exercise.

Some General Care And Precautions

Go in for an active life. The easiest way to do that is to get into ‘NEPA.’ It stands for Non-Exercise Physical Activities. We should walk as much as possible in the house and office. Park the car a little away and walk a few blocks to the office.

Do not take the elevator. Climb the steps. Get up and make your coffee. Walk when on call. Go to the colleague’s desk or cubicle instead of calling him over.

Walk it down to the local shops when at home. Do the washing and cleaning by ourselves. Do not sit on the sofa for a long time. Get up and walk around every half an hour.

Do not sleep out Sundays and holidays. Go out for a picnic or trek. Find activities which you love doing. Form a small group of friends and relatives and engage in physical, social events. Play with your kids.

There are many things to do in regular life that will keep you active and help exercise your heart.

Some Additional Steps For Increasing Tolerance

  • Engage in healthy aerobic exercises. It is the best thing to do to increase our tolerance for exercise. All those exercises which are not very strenuous and can be done quickly should be adopted in our schedule. The exercises are explained below, which we can do at home very easily.
  • Eat a very healthy diet. Eat a good quantity of green vegetables and fruits in your diet. The whole grain is good. Consume dairy products but low fat. Reduce or stop the intake of sugar and salt.
  • Go very low on saturated fats and cholesterol. Best would be to avoid them altogether.
  • Curtail the quantity of alcohol consumed. Excessive alcohol is bad for the heart.
  • Stop smoking
  • Go in for regular checkups and take medicines diligently.
  • Sleep well: It is important to sleep six to eight hours a day. Because sleep helps the body cells and tissues to recover from the stress.

2 friends making a happy workouts

Some Simple Aerobic Exercises To Boost Tolerance To Exercises

According to Greatist, tt is an accepted fact that regular activities gradually improve the performance of the heart. It also keeps us active. Body fat and weight are also under control.

Lower body exercises

Stationary Jog

  1. Stand in one place.
  2. Start jogging very slowly.
  3. Keep breathing slow and regular.
  4. Initially, do it for a couple of minutes.
  5. Rest in between.
  6. When done, sit down and breathe deep.

Side To Side Hops

  1. Stand comfortably in one place.
  2. Do a quarter squat (bend a little at the knee and push your butt back).
  3. Clasp your hands together, and hold it in front of the chest.
  4. Move your right leg to the right side as far as possible. Maintain your body balance.
  5. Lift and take your left leg to join the right leg.
  6. Now move your left leg to the extreme left.
  7. Let your right leg join the left leg.
  8. Do this in a slow and smooth form for 6 – 8 times.
  9. Sit down and breathe deep.

Jumping Jacks

  1. Stand comfortable with the hands by the side.
  2. Jump to widen the feet.
  3. At the same time, take your hands from the sides, straight to meet at the top of the head.
  4. Jump back to the starting point.
  5. Repeat 6 – 8 times.
  6. Sit down and breathe deep.

Hopping Squats

  1. Stand normally.
  2. Squat low with hands clasped in front of the chest.
  3. Stand up and hop with both legs stretched sideways.
  4. Squat down.
  5. Hop back to get the legs together.
  6. Repeat for step ii.
  7. Do this whole sequence about 6 – 8 times.
  8. Sit down and take a deep breath.

Upper body exercises

Arms Rotation

  1. Stand comfortably.
  2. Rotate your hand in circles, using the shoulder as the pivot point.
  3. Try to make it a perfect circle.
  4. Make ten circles with each hand.
  5. Make another ten circles in the opposite direction.

Shoulder Flex

  1. Stand comfortably.
  2. Raise both the hands in front of the chest.
  3. Keep them at shoulder height.
  4. Push your hands to the sides, to open your chest.
  5. Hold for a few seconds and come back to step ii.
  6. Repeat 10 -12 times.

We can do any of the exercises listed above. Start with 2/3 exercises and increase them to do all of them. Do not force yourself too hard. Always breathe normally.

Remember to keep yourself hydrated. In case of any discomfort, stop and consult a doctor.

A word from The Healthy Zoom

Exercise intolerance can make our life feel incomplete. But if not because of a medical condition, we can easily overcome it. A few changes in the lifestyle, proper diet and good physical exercise can rectify it. The results may take some time to show. Gradually we can see the improvement in a couple of weeks.

Get fit to enjoy the life to fullest!



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