Decreased Activity Tolerance

Decreased Activity Tolerance

Introduction for NANDA Nursing Diagnosis: Decreased Activity Tolerance

Decreased activity tolerance is defined as the inability of a person to maintain or increase their level of physical activity due to fatigue and/or other reasons. The diagnosis encompasses a broad spectrum of conditions, including those related to physical function, lifestyle, psychological and emotional state, and medical history. It requires professional assessment and treatment by a healthcare provider.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

Decreased Activity Tolerance is characterized by an individual’s limited ability to engage in activities that require physical effort.

Defining Characteristics


  • Reports decreased energy level
  • Experiences muscle weakness, pain, and/or fatigue
  • Expresses concern about activity involvement
  • Perceives limited activity endurance


  • Observes frequent rest periods
  • Repeatedly declines physical activity
  • Stops physical activity before completion

Related Factors

  • Anemia
  • Cardiac disease
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Insufficient recovery time between activities
  • Irregular sleep/rest patterns
  • Lack of physical fitness
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Overexertion
  • Unrealistic expectations

Risk Population

  • Children
  • Elderly adults
  • Immobilized individuals
  • Individuals with existing medical conditions
  • Individuals with history of excessive activity
  • Those with decreased motivation for activity

Associated Problems

  • Activity Intolerance
  • Chronic Pain
  • Impaired Mobility
  • Ineffective Self-Health Management

Suggestions for Use

  • Assess the individual’s lifestyle to determine if it may be contributing to decreased activity tolerance.
  • Encourage the individual to gradually progress their activity level as tolerated.
  • Provide support, positive reinforcement, and praise for any efforts made towards increasing activity.
  • Recommend appropriate changes to the individual’s lifestyle to support increased activity tolerance.

Suggested Alternative NANDA Nursing Diagnoses

  • Fatigue
  • Injury Risk
  • Ineffective Self-Health Management
  • Powerlessness

Usage Tips

  • Consider that decreased activity tolerance may be present when a person does not enjoy activities that they used to.
  • Be sure to differentiate between those who are unable to increase their activity level and those who simply choose not to.
  • Also consider the impact of other nursing diagnoses in relation to decreased activity tolerance.

NOC Outcome Results

  • Activity Tolerance: Ability to perform activities of daily living at maximum level is improved.
  • Exercise Tolerance: Ability to safely participate in physical activity is demonstrated.
  • Physical Fitness: Physical abilities are maintained or improved.
  • Well Being: Self-concept, self-care, and health control are improved.

NIC Interventions

  • Conditioning Exercise: Perform exercises for continued physical conditioning.
  • Scheduling Activities: Schedule activities within tolerance of physical capabilities.
  • Strength Training: Participate in activities to develop and maintain muscle strength.
  • Rehabilitative Strategies: Follow rehabilitative strategies appropriate to specific illness.


Decreased Activity Tolerance is a common and serious NANDA nursing diagnosis. It is important to identify this diagnosis in order to provide appropriate interventions that can help increase the activity tolerance of the individual and ultimately improve their overall physical health and wellbeing. With proper assessment and intervention this diagnosis can be managed and treated effectively.


  • What is the definition of decreased activity tolerance?
  • Decreased activity tolerance is defined as the inability of a person to maintain or increase their level of physical activity due to fatigue and/or other reasons.
  • What are some suggested interventions for decreased activity tolerance?
  • Some suggested interventions include scheduling activities within tolerance, participation in activities to develop and maintain muscle strength, conditioning exercises, and following rehabilitative strategies appropriate to the individual’s condition.

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