Exercise in this fast-paced stressful world is very important for your optimal health and well-being. Chances are that sometime in the past your doctor might have asked you to exercise regularly to stay fit and healthy. 

And that is for a good reason! 

Studies show that regular exercise can enhance the quality of life by improving both physical as well as mental health. So it’s only natural for a doctor to recommend regular exercise. However, some people can face exercise intolerance when they suddenly start exercising. If you are one of them, we at TABIIB would like to help you understand how you can overcome exercise intolerance. 

What is Exercise Intolerance?

Exercise intolerance is a state of inability or diminished ability to perform a physical exercise at the normally expected level or length for people of a certain age, height, sex, and muscle mass.

Exercise intolerance may be caused due to different types of medical conditions, including respiratory issues, heart and circulatory problems. It can also because of fractures, or musculoskeletal problems, or a broader range of conditions.

Furthermore, emotional or behavioural conditions, like depression, can also interfere with exercise capacity. It can prevent exercise from being connected to a combination of general physical issues.

Exercise intolerance often involves unusual intense pain, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and other unpleasant symptoms during exercise. Intolerance to exercise isn’t an illness or syndrome per se but may be caused by different disorders. In most cases, the precise reason why exercise is not accepted is of great importance when attempting to distinguish the cause from a specific illness. 

Signs & Symptoms:

Exercise means physical activity in this context, not primarily exercise in a fitness regime. For example, a person with exercise intolerance following a heart attack may not be able to maintain the amount of physical activity needed to walk through a grocery store or cook a meal. 

Physical activity may cause unusual breathlessness (dyspnea), muscle pain (myalgia), tachypnoea (abnormally rapid breathing), tachycardia (having a faster heart rate than normal) or increased muscle weakness in a person who does not tolerate exercise well; or exercise may result in severe headache, nausea, dizziness, occasional muscle cramps or extreme fatigue that would make it intolerable.

The top three reasons why people cannot tolerate regular exercise or physical activity are:


 This is commonly seen in people with lung diseases, heart disease, and obesity.


It usually appears early in an exercise test. It is due to deconditioning but it can indicate heart, lung, or neuromuscular diseases.

  • Pain- 

This is caused by a variety of medical conditions, such as arthritis, claudication, peripheral vascular disease, or angina. A chronic pain that makes a person unwilling to undertake a physical activity is a form of exercise intolerance.


Popular tests include escalation, six minutes of walking, a cardiac stress test and a shuttle-walking test (CPET).

The goal of the six-minute walk test is to see how distant the person will go, with an average person without exercise aversion achieving a fair result of about 600 metres. The CPET test tests the capacity for exercise to determine whether the cause of the intolerance of exercise is caused by heart disease or other factors.

Persons with severe tiredness before the anaerobic threshold typically have a non-cardiac reason for intolerance of exercise.

Avoiding Exercise Intolerance

Now that you are aware of some of the symptoms of exercise intolerance, it’s important to know what to do to avoid any harm to your well-being. 

Here’s what you need to know to keep exercise intolerance at bay.

Don’t Stop Exercising

While you might think that exercise intolerant individuals should stop working out, that’s not necessarily the case. A study in the journal Circulation suggests that the benefits of exercise training in patients with heart failure can actually improve exercise intolerance. Training usually not only increases how long you work out, but how hard you work out. One study found that circuit weight training for eight weeks could spark a modest. Significant, increase in aerobic ability (called peak VO2).

When You Exercise, Take Frequent Rest Periods

While you may not be able to work out for long periods of time with no break, you may be able to work out longer if you build in regular rest periods.

Low-intensity exercise regimes that call for regular and frequent rest periods are often better tolerated by those with heart failure. You won’t overwhelm your body, and you’re more likely to feel a rush of exhaustion if it hits you.

Listen To Your Body

Don’t try to test your limits. This isn’t the Super Bowl or the World Cup, and keeping your body happy and healthy is a priority. Educate yourself on how to listen to your body. Pace yourself during physical activity so you’ll be able to notice when your body needs a break. Ideally, you want to stop exercising before you feel uncomfortably tired.

Ask Someone To Supervise You

Recruiting help from a personal trainer, physical therapist, or other fitness professional may help. It helps you craft a safe exercise strategy that works for you and your intolerance.

For mild exercise that will invigorate your body without pushing it too hard. Try physical therapy sessions once or twice a week. 

Now that you’re educated about exercise intolerance, watch out for any signs or symptoms during your practice.

Most of all, exercise safely.

Schedule an appointment with a physical therapist on the TABIIB website/ app to know more.

I’m a writer, poet and content writer; who covers topics under Nutrition, wellness and beauty. If I’m not found writing Or reading books, I’ll be surfing through Pinterest searching for books to purchase or binge-watching The Big Bang Theory on Netflix.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.