Sports and exercise
Keeping fit is very beneficial if you have renal failure. It can:
- strengthen your heart and bones
- prevent excessive weight gain
- lower your blood pressure (and your need for blood pressure medication)
- reduce your chance of developing heart disease
- give you more energy
- help you sleep
- above all, make you feel good
No matter how you are being treated, you can benefit from exercise.
If you are on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis you can still exercise and participate in many sports. Even though anemia may make you tired, exercise will enable your body to use oxygen more efficiently help you feel better.
In general hemodialysis patients should:
- avoid any sport or activity that could damage your fistula
- exercise when you are feeling energetic if your energy level varies.
- start with gentle exercise
In general peritoneal dialysis patients should:
- avoid activities that could injure the exit site or catheter
- learn proper lifting techniques to avoid back strain
- ask your doctor or nurses about swimming
This CAPD patient races cars in his spare time...
"The chance arose to start racing and I was determined to take it. With CAPD I could take all my dialysis bags and equipment with me to race meetings and fit the bag exchanges between the schedule.” - Richard Cole, CAPD patient (now transplanted)
With a transplant
The steroid medication that transplant patients take can cause them to gain weight. Exercise is a good way to offset this.
You should make sure your kidney transplant is protected from hard blows at all times. You might find a sporting belt and back support helpful. Do not wear anything too tightly over the transplant area.
Many countries sponsor teams of patients to annual national and international transplant games. These events are open to people of all abilities and all ages. The games include many types of physical abilities such as bowling, swimming, track, tennis, and walking.
Your doctor or nurse can offer advice. You should check with them if you are unsure about the suitability of a particular sport or exercise.
May 1, 2006