Exercise for Dialysis Patients

Exercise for Dialysis Patients

January 8, 2021

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Anuja Mhatre

Sports Dieticians consultant

Most dialysis patients believe they cannot exercise. The truth is—most dialysis patients CAN and SHOULD exercise. Many renal patients describe regular exercise as the first activity that made them feel “normal” again after starting dialysis treatments.  

Medical professionals working in renal rehabilitation have shown that a regular exercise program, however limited, not only enhances a person’s potential for physical activity, but also improves the overall quality of life for people on dialysis. 

Importance of resistance exercise:

  1. Renal patients have fragile skeletal health.
  2. The disease imposes demand on the muscle mass.
  3. Too much of muscle loss can add up to the creatinine load and make the prognosis worse.

Recommendation for dialysis patient exercises: 

  • Always ask your doctor before you start any type of exercise program: Many factors need to be kept in mind here. The cardiovascular system is stressed due to fluid overload. Blood pressure monitoring and ejection fraction need to be considered. Previous cardiac events/history need to be kept in mind. The patient might get breathless and tired soon. Oedema may be present. There could be diabetes-related complications as well.
  • Exercises should be done under a physiotherapist’s supervision only, preferably one who specialises in cardiac rehabilitation. 
  • Exercise at a slow pace as per tolerance and build it up over time. It is best if you can do at least 15-20 minutes a day, at least three to four days every week. 
  • Stretching, mobility, strength training and cardio training should be incorporated in the training program. 
  • Intensity and frequency of exercises vary according to the patient’s metabolic status, the number of dialysis sessions in a week: preferably 1 day after dialysis is when they are most comfortable.

Take home:

Exercising during dialysis = better prognosis

Check our latest IGTV video https://www.instagram.com/p/CJx6-smjl2F/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link to get a glimpse of our 79 year old hemodialysis patient training under the care of our cardiac rehab expert Dr Anuja Mhatre, ANC/PNC & Cardiac Rehab Expert, Mind Your Fitness!

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