Yes indeed, exercise helps kidney disease patients to improve their health and general well being. It is an important element in managing kidney disease.
The health benefits of regular exercise are well researched and published. Research has also shown that an inactive lifestyle, in adults, increases the risk of many non-communicable diseases, including kidney disease.
Staying active is essential. Exercise can help to prevent or minimize the risk of developing chronic kidney disease and, in some cases, exercise helps to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with chronic kidney disorders.
Of course, exercise alone cannot guarantee optimum health, but it certainly is a major contributor.
What are Some Benefits of Physical Exercise?
Our main focus is to highlight how people with kidney disease can incorporate exercise to help kidney disease. But even beyond the scope of kidney disease treatment, there are many other health benefits of regular exercise. These include the following:
Increased energy. If you exercise regularly, over a period of time, you will develop greater resistance to fatigue and your energy will increase.
Help in dealing with stress. Exercise relieves tension, which enables you to relax and feel less tense.
Improved ability to sleep. As tension in your body diminishes and you begin to relax, you will go to sleep much quicker and sleep more soundly.
Improved overall daily functioning. As your fitness improves, your capacity to perform daily tasks at school, home or on the job will increase.
Improved appearance. As you burn extra calories and your muscles become firmer, it becomes easier to control your weight thus improving your overall appearance.
Improved overall health. There are many health benefits to be gained from regular exercise. As oxygen is transported more efficiently around the body, circulation improves, the heart becomes stronger, blood pressure is lowered, and your body is better equipped to fight off diseases.
Types and Intensity of Exercises to Help Kidney Disease Patients
There are basically three types or classes of exercises: resistance, skills-based, and aerobics. Of these three, the best type of exercise to help kidney disease is probably aerobic exercise. Let us look at the main benefits of each type.
Resistance exercise increases muscular strength and endurance. It requires resistance through the use of body weight, free weights, or exercise machines. While this is not considered a primary exercise to help kidney disease, it is important in maintaining a strong and erect posture. Resistance exercise not only increases muscular strength but it also tones muscles and helps to maintain bone density (especially in elderly persons).
You do not necessarily need free weights or an exercise machine to get started with resistance exercises. Simple push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and squats are good forms of resistance exercises. Start with five (5) to fifteen (15) minutes, two to three times per week. Over time, you will experience increased muscular strength and endurance, and your overall physical appearance will improve.
Skills-based exercise deals with improving coordination, balance, flexibility, speed, etc.This is probably the least needed exercise to help kidney disease. It is not, however, entirely useless. Flexibility, in particular, can be incorporated as a part of your exercise program. Any exercise program should start with a warm-up and end with a warm-down. Stretching (which facilitates flexibility) is a good means of warming-up and warming-down. This keeps muscles slender and toned, and helps to prevent damage to the muscles. You only need to stretch for about five minutes or so, before and after each exercise routine.
Aerobic exercise is continuous and incorporates the use large muscle groups that keep the heart rate elevated. This is the best type of exercise to help kidney disease... and includes walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc.
Some benefits of aerobic exercise include:
- Weight control
- Lowers resting heart rate... reducing the work load of the heart
- Lowers blood pressure... minimizing the risk of kidney failure
- Reduces cholesterol
- Improves immune system functioning
- Increases insulin sensitivity to help prevent type II diabetes,
- Significantly improves cardiovascular disease conditions
These are just some of the major benefits of aerobic exercise. It is important to note that aerobic exercises should be done in moderation, especially if you are just getting started. If you do too much, too intensely, you can overwork your system and organs... leading to serious problems, including heart failure.
Here are some tips for an aerobic exercise program:
- Before you start any exercise program, check with your doctor to ensure there are no medical issues affecting your ability to exert yourself.
- Each exercise session should start by warming-up for approximately five minutes (see "skills-based exercise" above)
- Start slowly, then increase the paste gradually
- At the end of each session, warm-down. This involves gradually reducing your paste and intensity until you come to a complete stop.
- Finish off with some stretches.
The duration of each exercise session should be fifteen to thirty minutes (including warm-up and warm-down). As your stamina improves, you may be able to do a bit more, but try not to exceed sixty minutes in any one session. Three to four times per week is sufficient exercise to help kidney disease and maximize kidney health.
Starting an exercise program is always challenging, especially within the first few weeks. It takes discipline to be consistent, but it is well worth the effort.
Physical exercise is essential for minimizing diseases and maintaining optimum health. Whether you are one or one hundred years old, once you are able to move, you should exercise. Yes... you should exercise to help kidney disease, heart disease, stroke... boost your immune system and improve your quality of life. If you are not yet exercising regularly, check with your doctor and get started soon.