Exercise and Dialysis

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

Woman walking her brown dog outside near a large tree

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.     

Man and woman enjoying riding their bikes outside

Physical and Emotional Benefits of Staying Active on Dialysis

Physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, whether or not you are 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.

Woman with her husband, running on treadmills for exercise

What Kind of Exercise Can I 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 you can do, if the weather permits. Otherwise, there are a variety of exercises you can do indoors.

 

Woman and man hiking through trails with their dog

Special Considerations

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.

Woman taking a break from a hike, drinking from a bottle of water

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 are exercising in order to ensure that you’re staying hydrated and avoiding fluid imbalance. Dialysis patients frequently have water and other fluid restrictions, so you’ll want to be sure to discuss this with your clinician or nurse.

Where to go next?

Patient and their spouse preparing a kidney-friendly salad together

Adopting a Kidney-friendly Diet

A kidney-friendly diet can go a long way in helping you feel and do your best throughout your treatment journey. Learn more about your diet and dialysis.

Man and his wife waiting for a train together at a train station

Traveling on Dialysis

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

Man and woman enjoying riding their bikes outside

Intimacy

It is possible for you to maintain intimate relationships while you’re on dialysis. Learn more about intimacy and dialysis.