We all know how important exercise is to health, even if it’s not always easy. We can have all the good intentions in the world, but sometimes exercise doesn’t work for us, and lectures from experts on how we’re failing really aren’t helpful. But what if it’s not your fault if you’re struggling with physical activity? What if it’s the result of exercise intolerance (https://longevity.technology/lifestyle/exercise-tolerance-causes-signs-treatment-diagnosis/)?
Everyone gets tired sometimes when they’re exercising. That fatigue is part of the point and how you know you’ve been working hard. We’re not talking about standard tiredness; exercise intolerance is when physical activity becomes unnaturally difficult. This may mean fatigue or shortness of breath. It might include chest pain or dizziness, and you may feel more pain in your muscles or have a longer recovery time. However, it is not a normal response, even though it may not be obvious.
Exercise intolerance isn’t a single medical diagnosis, but it’s often the sign of a more serious condition. Cardiovascular problems like an irregular heartbeat, heart disease or high blood pressure can disrupt blood flow, strain your heart, and stop it from functioning properly when it sends oxygen around your body. If the source is neurological, it could involve a degenerative condition like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, or it could be the aftermath of a stroke. These all impede your muscles and your energy levels.
Other problems could be lung-related, such as conditions that obstruct your breathing, including asthma, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If the issues are musculoskeletal, they may be traced to conditions such as arthritis, myopathy or muscular dystrophy, which can cause pain and weakness while impairing your mobility. Hormone imbalances, mitochondrial disorders and other metabolic conditions can make it harder to produce or store energy.
The list of potential causes is numerous. Some, like chronic fatigue syndrome, are poorly understood. Others, like side effects of certain medications, can be easier to identify and fix. Even psychological problems like depression can contribute to exercise intolerance.
If you want to fix exercise intolerance, you need to identify the underlying cause and treat it. General changes to lifestyle such as diet, exercise and sleep can also help, as can reducing stress. You need to think about your mental approach as well as your physical performance. Unfortunately, factors like age and genetics are less easy to modify.