People with Chronic Kidney Disease Can Benefit From Exercise

People with chronic kidney disease, even those who have undergone a kidney transplant, can benefit from regular physical exercise.

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD), even those who have undergone a kidney transplant, can benefit from regular physical exercise, according to the results of a systematic review published recently in The Cochrane Library.

The fitness of people with CKD often deteriorates and they have increasing difficulty performing normal tasks, but regular exercise can result improve their physical fitness, blood pressures, and heart rates, and result in higher health-related quality of life scores and better nutritional characteristics compared to those who don’t exercise.

There are many causes of damage in people with CKD, including high blood pressure, diabetes and rheumatic diseases. “Their muscles tend to tire quickly, which reduces the amount of exercise they do, but this then further reduces their fitness,” Susanne Heiwe, PhD, of the department of clinical sciences at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said in a statement.

Many studies on the ways in which exercise affects people with CKD have been conducted over the last three decades, but very few evidence-based guidelines have been released. This led Heiwe and her colleague, Stefan Jacobson, MD, PhD, to analyze the results of 45 studies involving 1,863 participants.

The results showed that adults with CKD but who do not yet need dialysis, patients on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients all benefitted from exercise. Different types of exercise, however, produced different benefits.

People who performed high intensity cardiovascular training for four to six months had significantly improved aerobic capacity. But most of the studies conducted have looked at the effects of cardiovascular exercise programs. “We now need to know more about the effects of resistance training or mixed cardiovascular and resistance training,” Heiwe said.

“More research is needed so we can discover how to set up exercise programs that get the desired outcome as efficiently as possible,” she added. Heiwe believes the review will help providers prescribe exercise training more often and make evidence-based choices about which type of exercise to recommend.

SourceRegular Exercise Improves Health of People with Long-term Kidney Disease [The Cochrane Library]