Exercise and Dialysis

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Exercise has been shown to improve some aspects of health-related quality of life in individuals with kidney disease as evidenced by improved scores on the both the physical component scale (PCS) and the mental component scale (MCS) of the KDQOL-36. Level of physical activity is also an important part of the CfC Patient Assessment and the implementation of Patient Plan of Care especially as related to rehabilitation, transplantation and self-care. The following resources as a way to assist facilities promote exercise among their patients.

Providing Motivation

Kidney patients face many challenges every day – dialysis, diet, medication, fluid restrictions. Finding ways to motivate patients to "do one more thing" even when the benefits to their health are well researched and documented is often a challenge for staff. The following resources feature patients motivating patients to exercise.

Exercise, Live Well & Feel Better

In October of 2007, Network 11’s Consumer Committee unanimously voted to begin working on a new project focused on fitness for people with kidney disease. Exercise, Live Well & Feel Better was produced by Network 11 in 2009. This 15 minute DVD features testimonials from patients on various modalities who have improved the quality of their lives though exercise.

Feeling Better with Exercise: A Video Guide for People on Dialysis (DVD)

This 30-minute DVD is a companion to the patient exercise booklet (Exercise: A Guide for People on Dialysis). It features conversations with dialysis patients about the benefits of exercise, as well as easy-to-follow demonstrations. All of the strength and flexibility exercises recommended in the patient booklet are shown in this video. Cost: $10 per DVD including shipping in the U.S. only. http://www.lifeoptions.org/

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Helping Patients Get Started

The first step in planning an exercise program is to determine fitness level and select appropriate physical activities. This is best accomplished with the help of a doctor or healthcare team member. The following are helpful resources for assessment and prescription.

Exercise for the Dialysis Patient: A Guide for the Nephrologist [Link to PDF download on Life Options site]

Topics include how to screen patients for exercise participation, pros and cons of exercise testing, and recommendations for safe exercise interventions. From the foreword by cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist Geoffrey Moore, MD, to the final references, this physician guide challenges the assumption that progressive physical degeneration is unavoidable for dialysis patients.


Exercise for the Dialysis Patient: A Prescribing Guide [Link to PDF download on Life Options site]

Safety concerns may cause some dialysis professionals to avoid recommending exercise to their patients. This brief booklet addresses those concerns—and lays them to rest! Sections on prescribing exercise, determining appropriate intensity levels, and identifying signs/symptoms that merit concern are all covered. In addition, there is a special section on prescribing exercise for dialysis patients with co-morbid conditions.

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Setting Up an Exercise Program

There are no general instructions for exercise that apply to all patients with kidney disease. The following resources will assist patients to design and tailor an exercise program to their current needs and learn to modify and grow their exercise routine to meet future goals.

Especially For Dialysis Patients

Exercise: A Guide for People on Dialysis
[Link to PDF download on Life Options site]

Written for patients, this booklet provides step-by-step instructions for starting and maintaining an exercise program. Written by exercise expert Patricia Painter, PhD, this program focuses on building strength, endurance, and flexibility, the three key areas for improving patient activity level. Profiles and quotes from dialysis patients who enjoy the benefits of regular exercise are featured.

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Additional Resources

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging

This comprehensive 124-page guide is the centerpiece of Go4Life, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) campaign on exercise and physical activity. It is filled with sample exercises and suggested activities and charts to record your progress.

To find out more about Go4Life visit www.nia.nih.gov/Go4Life.

To download this guide or view chapters from the booklet visit the NIA Web site http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/ExerciseGuide/






The Renal Network
911 E. 86th Street, Suite 202
Indianapolis, IN 46240
Phone: (317) 257-8265
Fax: (317) 257-8291
Patient Line:
1 (800) 456-6919
Email: [email protected]

Last updated on: September 19, 2014