Patients with kidney issues like Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and related disorders are at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems, increased kidney complications, and premature death. Sedentary behavior is the root cause of these, so we recommended following a curated exercise plan to avoid these issues.
The usual feeling of weakness and tiredness prompts kidney patients to skip their exercise routines. However, exercising for 15 to 20 minutes can make a drastic difference—as it can increase your muscle strength, overall balance, and coordination.
This article looks into the additional benefits of exercise for kidney patients and lists an easy-to-follow 30-minute exercise plan to improve their health.
Why do Kidney Patients Need to Exercise?
The main advantage of exercise for kidney patients is living a healthy life and preventing premature death. It helps them stay active—and alleviate pain and symptoms too. Here are a few additional benefits:
Better cardiovascular health: It can slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure and body mass index, improving your heart health.
Prevent kidney disease progression: It can improve your kidneys' metabolism and filtering capacity, preserving renal function.
Improve the quality of life: In general, exercise boosts both physical and mental well-being—making you feel more energetic. It positively affects all aspects of your life.
Improve balance and coordination: Regular training improves your physical strength and walking capacity—preventing falls and injuries due to imbalance.
Increase muscular strength: Through resistance training, you can improve your muscular strength and endurance, reducing your dependency on others for daily activities.
30-Minute Exercise Plan for Kidney Patients
Structured exercise tends to have the best results. For kidney patients, three types of exercises work best—aerobics, resistance training, and stretching.
Aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc., improve cardiovascular health and increase oxygen levels in the body. You can do it indoors or outdoors, but it must encourage active movement. You can do them for 10 to 15 minutes or more daily, depending on how energetic they make you feel.
Resistance exercises like wall push-ups, chair squats, lower-leg extensions, lunges, toe raise, and leg lifts strengthen muscles by building muscle mass and tone. You can go to the gym or use light weights at home—even a can of beans works.
We recommend doing them only 2 to 3 times a week because your body requires rest from the intense workout. You may find it easier to do aerobics and resistance exercises on different days.
Stretching or flexibility exercises
These exercises release excess muscle tension and enable them to function smoothly—preventing potential injuries down the line.
You can do neck, hand, and leg stretches, neck and shoulder rotations, or even yoga—as long as it is within your capacity. Do these daily for 5 to 10 minutes before and after your workout to prevent sore muscles.
Your typical exercise plan will look like this:
Warm-Up (10 minutes): Gentle aerobic or stretching exercises to prepare your body for the core exercise.
Core exercise (15 minutes): Aerobic and resistance exercises—preferably on alternate days to strengthen your body.
Cool down (5 minutes): Stretching exercises to relax your body.
Exercise Tips for Kidney Patients
When you start exercising, start slow but be consistent. Start with 15 minutes and gradually increase to 30 minutes a day for 4 to 5 days a week.
Always begin with a warm-up, do the core exercise, and reduce the intensity as you near completion. It will help your body adjust to the routine.
Avoid high-intensity exercises because they might cause more harm to your kidneys.
If you cannot breathe while exercising, rest for 1 or 2 days and resume. If the same continues, consult your doctor.
Note: Regular exercise with moderate intensity for 8 weeks to 1.5 years is safe for non-dialysis patients—those on dialysis should consult their doctors.
Exercise Your Way to Healthier Kidneys
While it may seem daunting, regular exercise is an effective way to manage kidney diseases. There are different exercise routines you can follow. We recommend you experiment first—start with the exercises above—and then finalize the ones that work for you.
If you’re unsure about what to do or how these exercises impact your condition, reach out to our doctors today.