Exercises for kidney patients that can improve their quality of life

On World Kidney Day, find out about the importance of exercises for kidney patients in improving their quality of life.
walking backward
Walking backward reduces back pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 10 Mar 2022, 11:08 am IST
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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the entire globe to a standstill. While lockdown and social distancing was the only strategy to curb the issue, they hampered the fast-moving lives of many people. Fitness routines were affected, leading to various psychological issues and serious fitness and health concerns. While fitness freaks and regular exercising individuals have witnessed the impact, kidney care and dialysis people have received a major setback. It is important that you know about the importance of exercises for kidney patients.

At present, around 700 million people in the world are affected by chronic kidney disease. It is estimated that more than 75 lakh patients live with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in India. On average, about 200,000 new patients develop end-stage kidney failure every year in the country. Now this is a big number and just imagine if these individuals don’t maintain a fit lifestyle, soon they will be at risk of depression, high blood pressure, weakened immune function, heart disease, and swelling in the feet and legs.

depression and kidney health
Your kidney health can impact your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Keeping this in mind, on the occasion of World Kidney Day where the theme revolves around building awareness among kidney patients, Apeksha Ekbote, Chief Dietitian of dialysis network NephroPlus, underlined a few basic and simple exercises for kidney patients to remain fit and to maintain a healthy body.

“As a specialized dietitian for kidney care and management across the country, I suggest that physical activities should be integrated into the clinical care of patients with kidney disease. It is imperative to talk to your nephrologist about what exercises you can safely do and also the duration of the activity. Begin slowly and then gradually increase the duration and intensity. Please do not overdo it. Stop immediately if you feel any signs of discomfort, excessive tiredness, panting, breathlessness, etc,” says Ekbote.

Many dialysis patients think they cannot do any basic exercise because their condition is not ‘normal’. However, that’s not true, and even a little regular exercise for a short period like 15 to 20 minutes can help them feel better. A recent study by the National Yang-Ming University of Taiwan suggests that the optimal amount of physical activity in patients with kidney disease may boost better health.

Exercises for kidney patients

1. Walking:

It is a very safe form of exercise and suitable for almost everyone. It can be done anywhere and at any time. For people who do not exercise at all, start with a short, easy, five-minute walk – very slow, very calm, continue it for a week if there are no after-effects. Then increase it to 10 minutes. Watch the body and look for any signs of stress or discomfort. If everything is all right, then slowly increase the duration of the walk.

2. Yoga and flexibility exercises:

Asanas help the body to flex and breathing exercises can be performed on an everyday basis. Meditation and yoga help to keep the mind free of stress and tensions. Sit-ups, squats, calf raises, dips, pull-ups, etc. can easily be performed by individuals who are dialysis.

Also Read: Hitting the gym in full swing after the lockdown can damage your kidneys. Here’s why

yoga for kidney patients
Yoga can keep you calmer and fitter. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Freestyle dance:

Play and groove to favourite music or watch online for some light dance moves.

4. Swimming:

It is an excellent form of exercise for everyone. Since the pressure on the joints is low in the water, this is an excellent way to exercise the body without exposing the joints to additional stress that is possible while walking.


Keep an idea of your risk of weight-related issues.

Check BMI

A healthy balanced diet with exercise will not only keep weight under check but also balances all the blood parameters thereby increasing longevity and making you feel healthy.

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