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What is Energy Conservation?

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Updated June 21, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: When therapists use the term "energy conservation," they are referring to managing your body's energy levels. Think of your energy level like money in a bank: There is only so much you can spend before your account runs low. Learning to use this bank wisely means you can conserve your energy for the most important tasks, and avoid unnecessary "spending."

Energy conservation techniques can be especially useful for people whose energy levels may be affected by their chronic pain, such as those with arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Some ways to conserve your body’s energy include:

  • Sitting instead of standing during tasks
  • Taking breaks to rest between activities
  • Resting before you get tired
  • Practicing good posture and body mechanics (to reduce muscle fatigue)
  • Using adaptive devices or alternative techniques to perform daily tasks (work simplification)
  • Avoiding unnecessary stress
Examples:
Occupational therapists often educate patients with chronic pain conditions about energy conservation to reduce their fatigue levels.
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