Exercising while on Dialysis

Exercising regularly is important for staying fit and mentally healthy throughout your treatment journey.

Illustration of a woman walking a dog outside

Staying active while on dialysis has a variety of physical and psychological benefits. Regular exercise may improve your self-esteem, keep you mentally and physically stimulated and give you new opportunities for social interaction. Exercise may also make you feel “more like yourself” and help you regain your physical and emotional ability to do the activities you did before your diagnosis.

Before you start any physical activity, talk to your clinician about what options are best for you.

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Benefits of Exercising while on Dialysis

Physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, whether or not you're on dialysis. Exercise, in combination with a kidney-friendly diet, can help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your muscles and maintain a clear head and positive mindset. Regular physical activity is especially important for helping to keep your heart healthy. This is very important when you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), which puts you at increased risk for developing heart disease.

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What Exercise Can Dialysis Patients Do?

When you're on dialysis, there are many types of physical activity you can enjoy. Exercising on dialysis may be as simple as taking regular walks. However, if you're able to do other activities, your clinician can recommend a number of different outdoor exercises dialysis patients can do.

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Things to Note while Exercising on Dialysis

Some dialysis patients have other medical issues that may affect their ability to exercise regularly. Diabetes and heart disease are two of the most common. If you have these conditions, you should consult with your doctor before starting to exercise, and then start your exercise plan slowly, increasing the intensity and length of your activities over time.

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Fluid Intake and Exercise

Keeping the fluids in your body balanced is extremely important when you're on dialysis. Be aware that your body will lose more fluid than usual when exercising. You should talk to your clinician about whether and how to change the amount of fluid you drink while you're exercising in order to ensure that you stay hydrated and avoid fluid imbalance.

Dialysis patients frequently have water and other fluid restrictions, so be sure to discuss this with your clinician or nurse.

How to live well with dialysis?

Couple with camera and luggage travelling while on dialysis

Travelling on dialysis

It may still be possible for you to travel while you're being treated for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Learn more about travelling on dialysis.

Elderly friends happily talking to each other about living well with dialysis

Talking about dialysis

The support and advice of your loved ones may help you gain a new and valuable perspective on what you're experiencing. Learn more about talking about your condition.

Holding hand for emotional support about dialysis

Mental health and kidney disease

Sharing your emotions is essential to preserve your mental and physical health while living with dialysis. Learn more about mental health and kidney disease.