Activity Intolerance - Nursing Care Plan And Interventions

Having a hard time caring for a patient suffering from activity intolerance?
Many different factors can cause activity intolerance, such as physical de-conditioning or pain. Also, cognitive changes also affect a patient’s ability to make decisions about what to do on a daily basis.
By assessing a one’s ability and designing a thoughtful care plan, nurses can help their patients return back to independence.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about an activity intolerance nursing diagnosis for your patients.

What Is Activity Intolerance?

Activity Intolerance is defined as:

“Activity intolerance occurs when our body does not have enough energy that is required to do daily tasks.”

Activity intolerance occurs due to weakness and some chronic or acute disease. It’s a significant problem with older patients who have previously had cardiopulmonary, orthopedic, or diabetic issues.

Aging has some unfortunate effects on muscles. It causes them to weaken and function less optimally, which is bad for people who are athletes or those that spend a lot of time sitting down.

This can be troubling for active individuals because they may find themselves feeling weak in their daily activities more often. 

Aging affects our bodies negatively in many ways involving both strength and functionality, which can lead to activity intolerance in some patients.

In addition, activity intolerance is often mixed with fatigue. Fatigue is a draining feeling that can’t be fixed by resting.

Sometimes, it also causes tiredness, so patients need to take care of it on time. Otherwise, their body will suffer for it in the long run.

Causes of Activity Intolerance:

Lack of sleep can lead to activity intolerance, which is why it’s important for patients and their loved ones know how much rest they need.

By observing their daily routines and any use of over-the-counter medications, individuals can determine how many hours per night are needed to stay healthy and independent.

Common factors that result in activity intolerance also include:

  • Anemia
  • Malnourishment
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Long bed rests
  • Improper oxygen supply
  • Less sleep
  • Extreme Depression
  • Serious Pain
  • Critical Stress
  • High metabolic demands

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Symptoms of Activity Intolerance:

There are several symptoms or signs of activity intolerance such as early fatigue, dizziness, and/or weakness. It can also be displayed through abnormal discomfort during activities; often resulting in the inability to perform basic activities like walking long distances without getting tired.

All of these are due to an unusual response from our bodies, which is not natural for patients in terms of their workload level. Patients may notice high blood pressure levels over a period of six weeks.

Here are some other symptoms of activity intolerance:

  • Unusual discomfort / Dyspnea during activity
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Incapacity to perform normal operations
  • Signs of fatigue, dizziness, and weakness
  • Lack of sleep and motivation
  • An abundance of depression and pain
  • Enfeeble pulse, dizziness, and reduction in breath

Symptoms of Activity Intolerance:

Objectives Of A Successful Care Plan

Unfortunately, it can be hard for patients to figure out what they need when they have a chronic illness like activity intolerance. A proper care plan helps make this easier on them by restoring their ability to perform regular activities. This makes life more manageable and less stressful for them.

A successful care plan means that:

  • The patient is capable of providing a constructive verbal reaction in reply to activity level
  • The patient is capable of showing and using productive energy management
  • The patient is capable of performing primary activities without lacking energy
  • The patient is capable of displaying bodily improvements
  • The patient is capable of maintaining well organized cardiovascular and respiratory functions

In order for the outcome of any given situation to be deemed “successful,” it needs some sort of standard or goal.

Oftentimes, this includes an increase in productivity and efficiency through task delegation as well as increased job satisfaction. 

Activity Intolerance Interventions

There are many approaches to activity intolerance, but one of the most popular approaches is intervention. This condition can be managed by a patient alone or with the help of medical professionals who will take care in all aspects such as making sure that it’s safe for the patient.

The interventions that may help patient dealing with activity intolerance include:

  • Begin a regular exercise routine, but make sure the muscles don’t stretch and it should power the cardiovascular system
  • Pay attention to patient recovery speed from time to time and make sure he/she is making good progress
  • Stimulate regular rest periods between exercise drills
  • Do not waste energy in irrelevant activities and save it for productive activities
  • Help patient with designing and arranging activities
  • Start a diet plan and eating habits for the patient
  • Minimize cardiovascular activity through proper exercises
  • Retain a gradual progression of activities to enhance performance
  • Make good breathing habits to increase cardiovascular functions and decrease stress levels

Nursing Interventions for Activity Intolerance

Ongoing assessment is essential to identify potential problems that may have lead to Activity Intolerance. It will also help identify any issues that arise during nursing care. Monitoring the individual’s responses will give clues in performing an assessment related to activity intolerance.

In order to conduct a proper assessment for activity intolerance, follow these steps:

  • Create instructions and objectives of activity with a patient
  • Assess the need for extra help at home
  • Is patient acting rather slowly or in a long time with breaks?
  • Step by step increase the activity of sitting and standing
  • Hang legs on the bedside daily for at least ten minutes
  • Don’t do any un-necessary action
  • Help with activities of daily living in avoiding patient dependency
  • Make sure there is crapper near to the patient
  • Motivate the patient for physical activities according to the patient’s energy levels
  • Plan activities in times when the patient has the maximum energy level
  • Inspire verbalization of feelings
  • Stimulate range of motion exercises also make sure patient is taking part in planning activities
  • Give psychological help and positive behavior towards his/her abilities
  • Provide the patient with the most comfortable equipment to use
  • Educate the patient in recognizing signs of physical overactivity

Improve Patient Activities By Using:

  • Sitting and standing exercise
  • Deep breathing exercise daily at least three
  • Sitting up in chair exercise for at least thirty
    minutes a day
  • Walking indoor for at least one minute a day
  • And then walking through the house to walk

Educate Your Patient About How To:

  • Doing tasks while sitting
  • Change in positions frequently
  • Pushing instead of pulling
  • Sliding instead of lifting
  • Working at steady speed
  • Place most commonly used things closer to bed
  • Relax for one hour at least before the new activity starts
  • Organize a work and rest plan

Nursing Interventions for Activity Intolerance:

Goals and Outcomes of Activity Intolerance Nursing Care Plan

The goal of a proper care plan is to help the patient perform regular activities without experiencing any symptoms.

Following are the goals and outcomes of the activity intolerance nursing diagnose care plan:

  • The patient will know about the aspects which will aggravate activity intolerance
  • The patient will describe the capability to show activities of daily living
  • The patient will use energy-conservation methods
  • The patient will know about techniques of reduction in activity intolerance
  • The patient will sustain blood pressure in lower time after activity
  • The patient will show tolerance during physical activity


An activity intolerance diagnosis is one that warrants a comprehensive treatment plan.

There are several interventions to help manage the symptoms and ensure an individual has a longer, healthier life.

The care team should work closely with both the patient and their family members in order to develop a personalized program for each person’s needs.

We’d love to hear from you! What strategies have worked best for you and your patients? How do they feel about living with this condition? Let us know below by leaving a comment!

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