Exercising with Kidney problems
Another of the major potential complications of diabetes is kidney disease. Like neuropathy and retinopathy, kidney complications take years to manifest. This is just one more reason to have regular check-ups if you have diabetes . . . you may be able to prevent this from happening to you.
If you develop chronic kidney disease you should seriously consider becoming involved in an exercise program. In fact it is recommended that you start exercising after getting your doctor’s clearance. The types of exercises are important . . . you don’t want to make a bad condition worse. Your doctor will be able to advise you as to when you can start exercising and the types of exercises you can do.
Benefits of exercising
The benefits of starting an exercise program for people with kidney disease include:
– Increased muscle strength
– More energy
– Improved heart function
– Control blood glucose
– Better control of blood pressure
– Better weight control
Typically, you want to incorporate the three main types of activities, namely stretching, resistance and cardiovascular or aerobics, into your daily routine. If you haven’t been exercising for a while your will need to start slowly and gradually increase the time, intensity and frequency. If at all possible work with a Physical Therapist who is familiar with exercises for people with kidney disease.
How to exercise with kidney disease
As someone who is familiar with kidney disease I would recommend starting with a walking program of ten to fifteen minutes every other day. Gradually build up to between thirty and forty-five minutes five times per week. This should take place over a three to four-week span. If possible incorporate a friend or family member who can encourage you. Remember before you start any physical activity, warm up your body first by doing light stretches. This will prepare your body for more strenuous exercises.
In addition to walking, you can also do other low impact or less jarring exercises such as swimming, dancing and cycling on a stationary bike. Light jogging is also permissible with your doctor’s clearance. Resistance exercises are also important but, as with your cardio program, start with light weights or even body weight exercises and gradually build up.
If you wish to take part in more physically demanding programs such as playing tennis or volleyball get clearance from your doctor first. You typically want to avoid sports such as martial arts, high impact aerobics, wrestling or running sprints.
The best time to exercise
I find that exercising in the mornings gives me the energy to go all day. Now this may not be ideally suited for everyone so I recommend finding the right time of day that is comfortable for you. Give yourself at least an hour and a half to two hours after eating before doing any vigorous activity.
If you are giving yourself insulin, do not exercise the muscle where you administered the shot. The insulin will get used up very quickly and you might become hypoglycemic. For example, if you are planning to exercise your leg muscles then give yourself the shot in your abdomen.
If you miss dialysis and your body is retaining fluid do not exercise that day. Check with your doctor and follow their advice. You can lose fluid quickly when exercising by sweating. Replace liquid as soon as possible to prevent potential renal failure. If you are doing peritoneal dialysis it is recommended that you exercise on an empty stomach.
Remember the key to starting and maintaining an exercise program is to start slowly and build on your previous success. Losing weight can be a daunting task but with the right mind-set you can do anything.
This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.
To a healthier you,
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