Your Guide to Exercise after a Kidney Disease Diagnosis

While you should always speak with your doctor before attempting any exercise program, don’t fall into the mindset that kidney disease means you can’t get out, enjoy life and be active. The good news is your exercise routine doesn’t have to be strenuous or lengthy. Simply walking for 30 minutes a few times a week can have vast improvement on your health – both physically and mentally.

Science daily reports heart disease is the leading cause of death in patients with chronic kidney disease, but a study done by King’s College Hospital, in London, suggests 12 months of exercise-based rehabilitation significantly slowed the rate of kidney function decline and improved cardio-respiratory fitness compared with standard care.

Ideal Exercise for Kidney Disease Patients

Walking is highly suggested because it can help control cardiovascular conditions, a major health risk for people with chronic kidney disease and those on dialysis. In addition, walking has the natural added benefits of:

  • Sharper memory
  • Weight management
  • Increase in energy
  • Stress reducer
  • Better blood circulation
  • Stronger muscles

Walking for Kidney Health

Health experts recommend completing a short warm up before starting your exercise routine. Of course, the Florence nephrology office of Pee Dee Nephrology suggests you consult with your physician before attempting any warm up exercises.

A few good moves to stretch out your arms and legs can have you ready to move in no time. Enjoy your 30 minute walk around your neighborhood, on a treadmill or at the mall. Be sure to include a cool down session to get your body back to a relaxed state.

You should feel a slight push when you’re exercising and your heartrate should increase slightly, but there are a few signs you’re working too hard:

  • You become dizzy or light headed
  • Your heart beat is irregular or rapid
  • You experience chest pain
  • You begin to get leg cramps
  • The pain from a workout causes stiffness the following day
  • You become short of breath

When to Avoid Exercise

It’s true that exercise can pep you up and better your health, but there are a few instances when, even if your kidney disease symptoms are under control, you’ll want to avoid an exercise routine.

  • Your dialysis schedule has changed (wait for doctor’s approval for exercise)
  • Your medicine or medicine schedule has changed (wait for doctor’s approval for exercise)
  • You’re suffering a fever
  • During hot times of the day
  • Less than an hour before bed

It’s also important to remember that if you stop your regular exercise routine for any reason, speak with your doctor before getting back into heavy activity.