Exercise and Kidney Disease
Being physically active helps keep the body strong, flexible and better prepared to handle
stress and illness. All people with kidney disease, both early and late, can benefit from a fitness
How active can I expect to be?
If you couldn't run a marathon before you were diagnosed with kidney disease, you
probably won't be able to after this module. But ... you will know what you ARE capable of
doing. It is important to understand that people with kidney disease can be as active as people
without kidney disease.
First, let's look at some myths and facts about physical activity and
kidney disease. Can you decide which statements are true and which
1) My kidney disease is certain to place limits on my fitness level.
2) If I stay active I can maintain my quality of life despite having kidney
3) At some point I will become disabled and unable to take care of myself.
4) If I have a fistula placed in my arm, it means I cannot do certain things.
5) “No pain, no gain” is an important exercise principle.
1) FALSE: Only 2l7% of people report changes in their fitness level in the
2) TRUE: We will talk more about this in the module.
3) FALSE: Less than half of the people with kidney disease become disabled
and unable to do things for themselves.
4) TRUE: If you have a fistula, your exercise program may need to modified.
5) FALSE: Exercise should be comfortable at all time! We will discuss why
in more detail.
Why should I be physically active?
Physical activity can improve the quality of life for people with kidney disease both physically
and emotionally. Having a chronic disease like kidney disease puts a strain on the body and
challenges people emotionally. Lack of physical activity leads to weaker muscles, poor activity
tolerance and a body that is more susceptible to illness.
Even if you have not exercised in the past, you can benefit from starting a
fitness program now. Fitness training has been shown to improve exercise
capacity by 20 - 25%