exercise and kidney disease?

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My name is Hannah and I'm a health professional and researcher. Would anyone be able to help me, I'm trying to gain a better understanding of how people think and feel about being physically active when they also have kidney disease. I'd like to hear about your experiences. If you can answer any of the following questions: 

Is there anything that helps or motivates you to be more active or stops you? How important is or was being physically active before starting dialysis? Have you received any help or support with this? Can you describe any activities you regularly do? Has this changed since you were diagnosed with kidney disease? 

Many thanks in advance for your time, all information will be treated anonymously and may help to inform how we treat and support people with kidney disease in the future. 


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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Hannah,

    I have kidney disease (IGA nephropathy) and I'm currently on dialysis (peritoneal).  I started on dialysis about 5 months ago.  I will try and answer your questions - just my perspective:

    -Kidney disease in and of itself did not motivate me very much to keep fit / physically active.  In my experience it's either something you want to do or you don't.  I myself wanted to be fit, and pre-dialysis I went to the gym twice per week.  Post-dialysis, I have managed to work back into that routine.  It's possible that the knowledge I had kidney disease provided me with extra motivation, but I'm not sure.

    -I found that being physically active was of benefit pre-dialysis in that it seemed to lessen the impact of some symptoms, eg. leg cramps.  It also probably gave me an additional "tolerance" level to things like fatigue - but that's speculation.

    -I didn't receive any support with this.  That said, I never asked for any.

    -As previously mentioned, my physical activities primarily consisted of going to the gym 2x per week for a vigorous workout, combined with the occasional walk.

    -I was diagnosed with kidney disease over 17 years ago so I can't say this has changed since being diagnosed.  I performed regular workouts the entire time my kidneys were in decline, and beyond.

    I hope that helps, no doubt others will be able to respond and provide their perspective. 

  • Posted

    Hello Hannah.

    My GFR fluctuates betweeen 18-35 i am not on diaysis.

    I currently have a stent due to a blockage (i have it replaced every 6 months).

    I go gym 5 days a week 630am - 7am.

    I train mainly on various weight machines but lift low weight but maybe 12 reps. (3 sets)

    I run 4k occasionally but that can be uncomfortable due to the stent.

    Nothing really motivates me as i have trained for 20 years so it is a way of life.

    Any questions just ask.

  • Posted


    I am a 52 yo male and was formally diagnosed with MGN in May of 2015.  eGFR is currently in the low 40s.  I am currently 8 months into a 24 month treatment which includes the drug Tacrolimus in an effort to eliminate or at least reduce greatly the protein spilling.  I have had symptoms of kidney disease since 2013 but did not know they were kidney related until the diagnosis.

    As far as excercise goes I make an effort to ride my bike twice a week between 10 and 12 miles.  Prior to starting the treatment I was running 3-4 times a week up to 5 miles and had actually completed a half marathon last September.  I have had to switch to bicycling as running became too difficult.  One of the side effects of the drug is neuralgia in the feet and hands.  

    My main motivation for staying active is to maintain a relatively decent weight, help maintain a good blood pressure (taking lisinopril as well) and keep some overall body strength.  

    Up to this point it appears that there is not really a great deal of support or group help in the community I live in.  My doctor has not really disuaded or encouraged one activity over the other, rather is more of a recommendation to stay active if possible.  

  • Posted


    I have recently had a transplant so am unable to do much at the moment.  Pre transplant I was active and did HIT training 3 times a week while on PD.  I found that it helped my energy levels and made me feel better and also helped with the dranage of fluid.  It certainly helped me to stay active even if I didn't feel like it at times I am glad I pushed myself.  Having said that we are all different and some people just physically can't face doing exercise as they may have swelling that hurts or other health conditions.

  • Posted


    I Have been on dialysis for 2 years and have multiple other health and mobility problems.  As a young person i did not like sports but loved to dance, so perhaps I was aware, at some level, of the benefit of exercise!

    Mid life I discovered Martial Arts.  This was never like an exercise class (Oh Horror) but like a family group - learning new skills (not for competing!!!)  I did several disciplines to quite a high standard eventually.  Health problems got in the way but I now teach Tai ~Chi and Chi Kung.  Unlike many chinese schools - we have a sense of humour about our limitations.

    Most of my members have health problems and, like myself, some feel that it is the Tai Chi/Chi Kung that is keeping them on their feet.  Chi Kung is the exercise aspect of Chinese Medicine.(Traditional Chinese medicine looks at health,and lack of it, differently for western medicine)

    .Motivation depends (to us) on the fact that we are friends having fun together; that we can work within our own limitations - sitting down on the job if we need to; that we can have a laugh and that if we miss a session we feel the loss!

    From a health point of view - we are all better mentally while we are involved; we are all keeping the maximum mobility our problems permit (and more) and for everyone - breathing is important.  From the dialysis point of view - breathing problems are common and without this kind of exercise I, for one, would be housebound.

    Although I tell them I am not trying to make them into martial artists, they do, in fact, learn a martial art eventually- which they thouroghly enjoy - gaining confidence and a sense of well-being.

    Having spent several periods in hospital during the last few years, I noted that it took me several days to get mobility and breathing back sufficiently to get around the house - only by doing the Tai Chi/Chi Kung am I able to lead a fairly normal, reasonably active life.  I need my students more than they need me!.     


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