September 22, 2021

Polyxenia-Renal: Exercise and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Ioannis Griveas, MD,PhD 

Consultant Nephrologist, 

Medical Director “Polyxenia-Renal” Dialysis Unit 



Physical condition is very important in today’s world. Everyone enjoys the benefits of greater endurance and better body health. Exercise keeps the bodyhealthy and strong. 

Can a person with CKD take part in intense physical activity? 
Yes. In the past, people with kidney disease were considered unable to engage in strenuous activity. We now know that patients who decide to follow an exercise program are stronger and have more energy. 

How can exercise benefit? 
In addition to increasing energy, other benefits of exercise may include: improving bodily muscle function better control of blood pressure improving muscle strength lowering blood lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) better sleep better weight control. 

Does the patient need to see his doctor before starting the exercise? 
Yes. Before starting any exercise program, you should discuss four issues with your doctor: 

  • the type of exercise 
  • the time you will spend exercising 
  • how often it will be exercised 
  • how hard you will work during the exercise. 

Here are some tips for everyone: 
Type of Exercise: Choose continuous activity, such as walking, swimming, cycling (indoors or outdoors), skiing, dancing, aerobics or any other activities in which large muscle groups need to move constantly. 

Plan your schedule to use low weights and plenty of repetitions, and to avoid lifting heavy objects. Three days a week is the minimum requirement for achieving the expected benefits. 

How “hard” can one exercise? 
This is the most difficult answer. 
Usually, the following ideas are helpful: 

  • Breathing should not be so laborious that you can not talk to someone who exercises with you.  
  • You should feel completely normal within an hour of exercising.  
  • Start each session slowly to warm up, then increase your pace, then slow down again when you are ready to finish.  

When should one exercise? 
Try to plan your exercise on a regular day: 

               Wait an hour after a large meal. 

  • Avoid the very hot hours of the day. 
  • Morning or evening seems to be the best time to exercise. 
  • It is advisable to avoid exercising less than an hour before bedtime. 

When should one stop exercising? 

  • If you feel very tired If you have difficulty breathing If you feel chest pain 
  • If you feel “tachycardia”. 
  • If you feel sick to your stomach. 
  • If you have leg cramps. 
  • If you feel dizzy or faint. 

Are there times when exercise should be avoided? 
Yes. One should not exercise without talking to your doctor in any of the following cases: fever, you have changed your dialysis schedule, you have changed your medication schedule. 

Your physical condition has changed. you have eaten too much. the weather is very hot and humid, unless you are exercising in an air-conditioned area. 

You have joint or bone problems that get worse with exercise.