When you visit the hospital, you are probably not thinking about the great workout that you could be doing or, especially if you are on dialysis, how many miles you might be able to run. Nor is this a surprise: dialysis patients are 60% less active than age-matched healthy individuals. But it is never too late to start exercising and to make your body healthier. When on dialysis you might want to consider how, with professional guidance, physical exercise can bring a huge number of benefits. Here are just five of them:
Increases energy levels
A lot of people on dialysis feel their bodies are really weak and tired. Dialysis is also mentally straining. Hormones released during physical exercise can help you feel better, more energetic, and significantly improve your mood. This won’t just improve your overall body health but will have a positive effect on your daily life, job, relationships, and, most important, on you.
Improves quality of sleep
If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, you need to do more than simply tire your body or go to bed earlier. Exercise can contribute to more sound and restful sleep. How? It helps increase the time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Aerobic exercises like cycling, running, and rowing are more beneficial, but considering the individual needs of a person on dialysis is crucial when choosing the right exercises and best ensuring you feel fresher and recovered in the morning.
Lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels
When undergoing dialysis, it is common to have associated health conditions such as high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This can compound the health of any patient already suffering a kidney disease. It is well known that physical exercise can help anyone achieve a normal rate of blood pressure and sugar level, and this is no less true for those of us on dialysis. The key is to maintain the habit constantly and persistently. Your kidneys will be grateful for it.
Dialysis can be a physically and emotionally draining process. It is common for patients to become stressed and suffer depression as a result. Exercise is a highly effective way of combating these ills. Natural endorphins and dopamine generated by physical exercise help to reduce stress and in turn help people feel calmer and more relaxed.
Decreases risk of heart attack
Increased heart rate is, for a variety of reasons, common among patients suffering from a chronic kidney disease. Lack of physical exercise can weaken the heart still further. Conversely, doing physical exercise can help fend off a weak heart. Physical exercise for people on dialysis is thus useful for preventing and decreasing the risk of heart attacks.
Responsable de Traïnsplant en Reino Unido
Graduado en Ciencias de la Actividad Física y el Deporte