Dialysis can provide great relief for those struggling through the later stages of kidney disease, it can help filter out toxins that the impaired kidneys are unable to and contribute to a greater sense of general well-being. That being said, however, dialysis can also be a very time-consuming process that leaves you with cramps, headaches and a persistent feeling of exhaustion. When you’re still reeling from a dialysis session, exercise is the last thing you even want to think about, but a new study has found that those undergoing dialysis should definitely not exclude exercise from their schedules.
Previous research into the topic of exercise and hemodialysis and how the two are connected found that exercise definitely does help dialysis expel toxins more efficiently, but this latest study, spearheaded by Paul Brown, a Kinesiology program graduate from the University of Calgary, was the first of its kind in that it examined how intense this exercise must be in order to be effective.
The study took a look at three different groups of kidney disease patients on dialysis and designated differing protocols for each group, with one group refraining from exercise completely, the other engaging in low-intensity exercise and the third in a higher-intensity fitness regimen. The study concluded that even those who engaged in lower-intensity exercise experienced more efficient dialysis sessions. This is promising news even for dialysis patients who feel significantly wiped out from their sessions, as low-intensity exercise is a far less intimidating option than more rigorous programs.
Some great options for those looking to begin a low-intensity exercise regimen include:
• Walking: Try walking 15 minutes at first and then increasing your time gradually as your body gets more comfortable with the activity level.
• Stationary Bicycle: There are many different stationary bicycles out there, even miniature options, which can be used during dialysis and which can help improve circulation, especially in the legs.
• Tai Chi/Yoga: Both of these are relatively low-impact workout options which force you to breathe and relax while simultaneously improving flexibility, circulation and coordination.
By doing exercise, you can maximize your dialysis session’s effectiveness and also avoid many of the frustrating complications that arise from undergoing the procedure itself.