Physical inactivity contributes to a reduction in activities of daily living and reduced quality of life. By enhancing the strength of the muscles, bones, and joints through exercising, people with CKD can improve their balance and coordination. A combination of all types of exercises performed five times a week and using different muscle groups each day would improve the CKD patient’s endurance and strength.

Q- Why Exercise?

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can benefit from exercising regularly just like those without this condition. Your quality of health can improve if you engage in activities that strengthen the muscles, bones, and joints in your body. Other physical exercise benefits also include improved blood pressure and diabetes control. In the same way, exercise helps to lower stress on the kidneys.

Q- How much should I exercise?

If you have not already been exercising regularly, you will want to start slowly and work up to a pace that you are comfortable with each day. Ideally, you will want to engage in exercise—aerobic, strengthening, or flexibility activities—5 times per week.

For instance, begin and end your workout with stretching exercises and follow with either an aerobic activity such as walking or strength training such as lifting handheld weights. 

Q-What type of exercises are best?

Structured activities include aerobic, strength, and flexibility activities. 

Aerobic activities are where you use large amounts of oxygen. These types of exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, swimming, water walking, and water aerobics, gardening, dancing, bicycling, and chair exercises. Other types of aerobic exercises can be performed on machines such as a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical trainer. 

Strength training involves using large muscles of your body to perform activities. For instance, free weights or dumbbells, resistance bands and tubes, Pilates, and medicine balls aid in strengthening your muscles. 

Flexibility type activities move your joints through their full range of motion and help to lessen your risk of injury when performing physical activities. These include stretching, Yoga, and Tai Chi.

Q- How Can I Stay Safe While Exercising?
The main thing to remember when exercising is to listen to your body. Keep in mind that exercising regularly is healthier than not exercising at all. 

But if you do develop any of the following problems, stop what you are doing and seek medical help: 

  • A Muscle cramps or joint pain 
  • A Nausea or vomiting 
  • A Pain in the upper part of your body including your face and jaw 
  • A Problems seeing, speaking, or trouble swallowing 
  • A Shortness of breath that is not normal 
  • A Sudden headache, dizziness, or a feeling of lightheadedness 
  • Sudden weakness in your arms or legs 

Chronic kidney disease should not hold you back from living life to its’ fullest. It may mean that you will need to put forth more effort to improve your health and exercise regularly. You may want to seek support from family and friends to help you along the way. Often, you may need the encouragement of others to help motivate you to continue and stay on course. Do not hesitate to ask those close to you for their help. 

Exercise Ideas for Aerobic, Strength, and Flexibility Workouts 

Aerobic Walking Program: 

1. Begin by walking at a slow but steady pace for 10 minutes 5 days a week. 

2. Once comfortable with the walking 10 minutes daily, then increase to 20 minutes every other day at a brisk pace. 

3. At 1 month, increase your time to 30 minutes every other day. 

4. Then, after 1 month, walk 30 minutes 5 times a week. At this point, you will be walking long enough and with the right amount of effort to gain the benefits of exercise and improve your health.


Stretching exercises will help to lengthen and loosen your muscles and joints. Perform these as a warm-up and cool-down part of your overall exercise plan.  

Shoulder Rotations: 

1. While standing or sitting, move the top of your right shoulder forward in a circular motion for 15 to 30 seconds. 

2. Repeat with your left shoulder. 

Leg Stretches: 

1. While lying on your back, bend your right leg and keep your left leg straight. 

2. With both your hands placed behind your right leg, pull your thigh toward your chest and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. 

3. Repeat with your left leg.

Strength Toe Raises: 

1. Stand straight with your hands on a counter or rail for support. Slowly raise your heels up off the floor and count to two.

2. Then lower your heels back down to the floor. Repeat 8 to 12 times.  

Leg Lifts: 

1. Sit in a chair where your back is straight and your knees are bent and your feet are flat on the floor. Lift and straighten your right leg and hold for a few seconds. Lower your right leg to the starting position.

 2. Repeat using your left leg. Perform exercise 8 to 12 times with each leg.

Reference- Milam, R. H. (2016). Exercise Guidelines for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 26(4), e23–e25.