Exercise is good for Dialysis Patients: Myth or Fact?

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Dr. Venkatesh, Consultant Nephrologist, Apollo Dialysis clinics,Chennai

Dialysis patients tend to believe that they cannot exercise, primarily promoted by misguided beliefs that it will stress the kidney. In reality, exercise can be good for patients undergoing dialysis. Many who are suffering from any kind of kidney disease tend to get demotivated and depressed and forgo all kinds of activities.
While kidney disease should be taken seriously, it is possible to lead a close-to-normal-life with some changes to the lifestyle. Exercise forms a critical part of the lifestyle change.

Indoor exercises are recommended for dialysis patients. Any kind of motion, even if it is for a short time everyday, helps the patient feel much better, stronger, and more in control of their health. Some medical professional state that a limited regular exercise strengthens a person’s potential for physical activity and improves the overall quality of life of a dialysis patient.

Regular exercise helps the dialysis patient to perform activities that were enjoyed before the diagnosis and it is beneficial not only physically, but also for mental health. It could be as simple as returning to work, doing household chores, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
For dialysis patients or those at any stage of chronic kidney disease, exercise is highly recommended.

However, it is critical to consult a doctor before exercising. Each body is different and the requirements and the stage of the kidney condition will vary. Medical guidance is important to understand how far you should be pushing your body.
Secondly, understand the limits of your body. You might get tired quicker, as your body is in the process of recovery. Do not push yourself unnecessarily. Instead, set realistic targets and slowly work your way up to meet your goal. Walking is highly recommended for dialysis patients. As it helps in stretching your body without tiring it.

It is also important to set a schedule, which also allows an ample amount of time to rest and recover after exercising. Many people with renal disease are required to watch their water intake, so it is critical to also not tire your body out or flush it with water immediately after exercising.
The point of exercise is not to build muscles. It is merely to stretch your body and help strengthen the muscles that might be affected by minimal activity.

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