If you suffer from kidney problems, exercising might be the last thing on your mind. Not only are you busy with life, doctor’s appointments, and treatments, you may also worry that exercising might worsen your kidneys. In many circumstances, however, that is not the case and we’re here to help you find the perfect workout routine for kidneys!
An exercise program tailored to your specific needs often leads to more energy, strength, and muscle function. Not to mention, it lowers cholesterol and body weight among other things! For more information on the benefits of being a healthy weight, click here.
How Should I Exercise?
If you haven’t worked out in ages, begin with daily stretching and/or light yoga. The goal is to help increase flexibility and slowly rebuild muscle without causing injury. From there, you can move onto exercises that the National Kidney Foundation recommends.
“…people with kidney problems should choose a continuous activity such as walking, swimming, bicycling (indoors or out), skiing, aerobic dancing or any other activities in which you need to move large muscle groups continuously.” (1)
NKF also stipulates that low-level strengthening exercises could also be beneficial but to avoid heavy lifting.
When Should I Exercise?
If you’re going to stick to a workout routine for your kidneys, you’ll need to create a schedule that works for you. Try to find space in your day without disrupting your other activities. This will help as you create and maintain your fitness schedule. If you have kidney problems and experience insomnia due to them (Dr. Jenna Henderson explores this subject in-depth here), try to work out at least an hour before bed. (2)
How Long Should I Exercise?
Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH recommends that you get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Ideally, this will be three days a week with rest days. If you are struggling to work out for 30 minutes, don’t be afraid to slow it down, call it a day, or simply work out for shorter periods of time over more days. (3)
When Should I Stop Exercising?
Remember, you are working out to feel better not to hurt yourself. That’s why the NKF recommends that you stop working out immediately if you feel very tired, are short of breath, feel chest pain, have irregular or rapid heartbeats, feel sick to your stomach, get leg cramps, and/or if you feel dizzy or light-headed. (1)
Before starting or changing any exercise program, always speak with your Doctor/Healthcare Professional.
1. Staying Fit With Kidney Disease. (2019, June 25). Retrieved from https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/stayfit.
2. LeWine, H. (2019, April). Does exercising at night affect sleep? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/does-exercising-at-night-affect-sleep
3. How Exercise Can Help You. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/how-exercise-can-help-you