Staying Fit with Kidney Disease

If you are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), staying fit and exercising regularly can improve your quality of life and help you feel your best.

Before jumping into any type of new exercise, though, check with your doctor on how much, often and long you should be working out. And if you recently changed your dialysis or medicine schedule, ate too much, or feel joint or bone pain, you should listen to your body and take the day off from exercise.

Below are a few aerobic, strength, and flexibility activities that can benefit your kidney health.


Aerobic activities use large amounts of oxygen and help strengthen your air flow. These types of exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, swimming, water walking and water aerobics, gardening, dancing, bicycling and chair exercises. You can also use equipment such as a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical to do these activities indoors. 


Strength training involves using your body’s large muscles to perform activities and help your endurance and overall strength. Some tools you can use are free weights or dumbbells, resistance bands and tubes, and medicine balls to aid in strengthening your muscles. You can also build strength through everything from Pilates to toe raises! 


Mobility exercises move your joints through their full range of motion and help lessen your risk of injury when performing physical activities. Activities such as yoga or tai chi help with flexibility and reduce stress. Simple stretching exercises will help to lengthen and loosen your muscles and joints. Shoulder rotations or leg stretches are good first-time stretches for beginners.  

Remember to stop these activities if any signs of shortness of breath, chest pain, or leg cramps occur, and always speak with your doctor before starting any new activities. If you have the green light to get moving, then the important thing is to do it. Safe movements of any kind are good for the body and will only help strengthen muscles, improve balance, improve joint mobility and – believe it or not – improve your mood!