Energy Conservation Techniques

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Energy Conservation[edit | edit source]

Energy conservation refers to the way activities are done to minimize muscle fatigue, joint stress, and pain. By using the body efficiently and doing things in a sequential way, you can save your energy. Work Simplification and Energy Conservation principles will allow a person to remain independent and be less frustrated by their illness when their energy lasts throughout the day[1].

  • Energy conservation techniques are not synonymous with promoting the “art of laziness.” Rather, energy conservation techniques allow for users to redistribute efforts to complete tasks that are most important to them.[2]

Examples of people that benefit with energy conservation techniques include people with:

Techniques[edit | edit source]

Below is a general list of ideas you can work on with your patient:

  • Educate your patient on pacing during the task and taking rest breaks throughout the day when they feel fatigued.
  • Discuss planning and prioritizing the day around completing the most important tasks first, as well as the importance of not over-planning the day.
  • Work with your patient to modify or simplify difficult tasks.
  • Discuss delegating tasks as needed to family members, friends, or hired caregivers.
  • Educate patients on the use of assistive equipment during ADLs. eg: Have grab bars installed in the bathroom, grab bars can help to stand and help prevent falls; Elevate toilet seat and elevate the chairs in your home. You use lots of energy getting to a standing position.
  • Discuss completing ADLs and IADLs in the seated position. (It is useful to have chairs in every living area to take breaks.)
  • Provide education and visual handouts on pursed lip breathing to complete as needed[2].

Energy Conservation Tips[edit | edit source]

Remember: The most important energy conservation tip is to listen to your body. Stop and rest BEFORE you get tired. Plan rest times. Rest often.

Educate clients to:

Dressing and Hygiene

  • Sit when you can.
  • Organize and lay out clothing the night before.
  • Begin dressing your lower half first as this uses more energy.
  • Avoid bending and reaching. Instead, use a reacher, sock aid or long handled shoe horn or lift your legs up onto the bed or chair.
  • Dry off with terry cloth robe. You use less energy than drying off with a towel.
  • If you have a weaker limb or limbs, it is easier to dress the weaker limb first. It is easier to undress your strong limb first.
  • Wear clothes that are easy to put on and take off. For example, use: clothes and shoes with velcro® instead of small buttons, clasps or laces.
  • Use the bathroom equipment suggested by your Occupational Therapist. For example using a bath bench, bath stool, grab bars or a raised toilet seat can make bathing and toileting easier and safer.


  • Cook and bake in steps to reduce energy use.
  • Gather all ingredients and utensils before starting.
  • Plan ahead with meal preparation.
  • Make large meals and freeze in servings for later use.
  • Use lightweight cookware and dishes to conserve energy. Use paper plates and cups to eliminate dishwashing.
  • Use electric appliances such as can openers, blenders, food processors and dishwasher to conserve energy.
  • Put items on shelves that are at eye or waist level. It takes more energy to reach over your head or bend at your waist.
  • Consider buying easy to prepare or frozen meals, or using a meal delivery service[3]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Duke University Energy Conversation Available: (accessed 17.11.2021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 My OT spot Educating Your Patients About Energy Conservation Techniques Available: 17.11.2021)
  3. St Josephs Health care Energy Conservation Available: (accessed 17.11.20210