Staying Physically Active with Kidney Disease


Whether you have kidney disease or not, physical activity is essential for health and overall wellbeing. However, kidney patients may find exercise overwhelming or challenging.

How Much Should I Exercise?

Health experts recommend that you do approximately 30-minute sessions of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 150 minutes a week. If you do vigorous exercise, it’s recommended that you do 75 minutes throughout the week. This should be combined with at least two sessions of resistance or weight training.

If you’re someone who doesn’t currently exercise or fears starting exercise due to their kidney disease, remember that any physical activity is better than nothing. Speak with your healthcare team about starting a new physical activity before you begin. They can advise you on which exercises to try and which to avoid, if necessary.

Start Slow

If you currently don’t have an exercise routine, don’t feel obliged to hit the 150- or 75-minute target per week right away. Start by making small changes in your day. Instead of parking close to the shop entrance, park further and walk more. If you work a desk job, get up more frequently to stretch your legs or fill your water bottle.

Do Something Fun

It’s not necessary to exercise at a gym or purchase equipment for at-home workouts – exercise can be fun, free, and diverse! Sign up for local classes, such as yoga, dance, or swimming, to try something new and meet new people. Take your dog to the park or discover new walking trails near you. Gardening, cleaning the house, and window shopping are also fun ways to get moving!

Make Exercise a Social Event

Exercising with friends helps increase accountability and makes the whole thing much more fun. Invite your friends to build this new exercise routine together, go for walks to catch up with loved ones, or sign up for classes and make new friends in the area. It becomes a lot more enjoyable!

Having kidney disease can make physical activity seem scary, challenging, or even dangerous to some. However, it can significantly improve wellbeing, from increasing sleep quality to improving mood and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Start small with one-to-two-minute movements, and discover exercises and activities you enjoy either alone or with friends.