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Exercise to Help Your Kidneys

Exercise choices

My doctor suggests that I try the following types of exercise:

  • Stretching

  • Swimming

  • Walking

  • Bicycling

  • Doing aerobics

  • Taking a dance class

  • Using an exercise machine, such as _________________

  • Other _________________

Now that your kidneys are working fully, it is important to find ways to prolong the remaining kidney function. Staying fit with the help of regular exercise is one of them. The human body is designed to stay healthy with regular physical activity. Many illnesses, loss of bodily functions, and reduced mental health are linked to a lack of physical activity.

How you benefit

When you exercise, blood flow to your organs and tissues increases. This gives you more energy. Exercise also improves muscle tone, which may help make your bones stronger. This is helpful because kidney disease sometimes weakens bones. Frequent aerobic exercise (a nonstop activity that makes your heart work harder) can also help reduce high blood pressure. Medical research also shows that exercise decreases your risk of developing diabetes and improves its control if you already have diabetes. The other known benefits of exercise are:

  • Reduction in the risk for heart attack and stroke

  • Improvement in mental health and reduction of stress

  • Reduction in the risk for colon and breast cancer

  • Prevention/improvement of joint pains (arthritis)

  • Improvement in blood fat levels (cholesterol)

  • Maintaining good sleep

  • Maintaining normal weight

Make exercise part of your life

For best results, exercise at least 5 times a week. Make it a goal to work out for 30 minutes each time. Although many studies indicate a better result from at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly, exercising for less time will also improve many areas of health. Talk with your health care provider about the safest way to start.

To be more activeWoman swimming laps.

All types of movement count. Try the tips below to help you get more active.

  • Swim laps at a local pool.

  • Go for a walk, mow the lawn, or wash the car.

  • Take the stairs.

  • Choose a parking spot farther away from your destination.

  • Remember, find an activity you enjoy and you will be more likely to continue.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 11/25/2013
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