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Kidney Failure​

An Exercise Plan for All

Keeping an active lifestyle is essential for all age groups to maintain physical function and health.
You are encouraged to:

  • Complete the PAR-Q checklist prior to any physical exercise. Do check with your doctor if you answered “No” to any of the questions.
  • Increase physical activity whenever possible to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Gradual increase of exercise duration, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.

Physical Activity vs Exercise

What’s the difference?

Physical activity is any bodily movement that requires the use of energy, such as climbing up the stairs, taking a walk at a nearby park or to the market and doing household chores.

Physical exercise, which is a sub-category of physical activity and is referred to planned and structured repetitive movements to achieve fitness goals and improvements.
Exercise and physical activity are two different concepts and often get used interchangeably; it’s important to know the difference, especially when you start to set a goal for yourself. Of course, both exercise and physical activity are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so let’s get moving!

How Much Exercise Should I Do?

FITT Table

Use the FITT formula below allows you to create a training programme suited to your own body! It helps you plan and modify your workouts to avoid boredom, injuries from overstrain and weight loss plateaus. Tailor the guidelines to your needs and remember: progressive overloading is key!

Activity Formula Adult Seniors
Cardiovascular Frequency At least 2-4 times a week At least 3 times a week
Intensity Moderate to Vigorous Light – Moderate
Time 150 minutes 150 minutes
Type Long periods of cardiovascular endurance such as jogging, swimming, kickboxing, dancing, cycling, rowing, skiing
Strength & Conditioning Frequency At least 2-3 times a week At least 2-3 times a week
Intensity Moderate - Hard Low - Moderate
Time 5 – 10 exercises per session, targeting multi-joint movements
Each exercise: 12–15 repetitions, for 2~3 sets
Type Body weight, free weight, resistance bands, weighted machines
Flexibility Frequency At least 2-3 times a week
Intensity Light – Moderate (Stretching to slight discomfort is normal)
Time 15 – 30 seconds hold per repetition for each muscle-tendon complex, 2~4 sets
Type Dynamic warm-up favored over static stretches; Static for cool down for range of motion (ROM) maintenance

Intensity of exercise can be determined and tracked using the simple test and indicators below.

Method 1: The Self Talk Test

The talk test is an easy tool to determine your exercise intensity.

You are doing moderate-intensity exercise if you can talk but not sing, whereas more vigorous exercise results in an inability to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Physical Activity/Exercise Level classification Heart Rate Maximum (%) Perception of Effort
Sedentary/no habitual activity or exercise/extremely deconditioned 57 – 67% Light – Moderate
Minimal physical activity/no exercise/moderately-high deconditioned 64 – 74% Light – Moderate
Sporadic physical activity/no or sub-optimal exercise/moderately to mildly deconditioned 74 – 84% Moderate – High
Habitual physical activity/regular moderate to vigorous intensity exercise (*Not to be attempted by patients on dialysis) 80 – 91% Moderate – High
High amounts of habitual activity/regular vigorous intensity exercise (*Not to be attempted by patients on dialysis) 84 – 94% Somewhat hard – Hard

Method 2: Target Heart Rate and Heart Rate Zone

One way to find your maximum heart rate (maxHR) is to subtract your age from 220. E.g. If you are 60 years old, your HRmax – Age would be 220 – 60 = 160 beats per minute.

HRmax = 220 – Age

Target Heart Rate = ((HRmax – resting HR) x % Intensity) + resting HR

*Karvonen Formula

My Training Heart Rate Zone

Appropriate heart rate zones are useful in identifying suitable training intensity for each individual so as to optimise fitness and performance level effectively. Training in accurate zones can also minimise risk of injury.

Please Enter Your Age, Resting Heart Rate and Desired Training Intensity Level

Years Old
Beats Per Minute
(Refer to My Heart Efficiency)  
(Training Intensity)

Know My Heart Efficiency

The pulse rate measurement at rest can determine how the heart is functioning and overall cardiovascular fitness level. Inefficiency occurs when the heart requires more beats to do the same amount of work, over time this can lead to cardiovascular diseases.

Resting Heart Rate = Number of Heart Beats per Minute

*Place your middle and index finger on your radial artery on the wrist or your carotid artery at the neck to locate your pulse.

Please Enter your Number of Heart Beats for 30 Seconds.

  Beats (x2)

Your Resting Heart Rate is     Beats Per Minute

Exercise Training Alert:
This formula incorporates the heart rate reserve to calculate training zones based on both maximum & resting heart rate, making the calculation more customised to individual’s fitness level. This consideration enables a more accurate training zone to be determined as compared to percentage of maximum heart rate (220 – age). Try to exercise according to your personal heart rate zone to maximise cardiovascular health benefits and optimise fitness level!


  • Individuals with medical conditions should consult a registered medical practitioner before attempting to intensify their exercise efforts.
  • These recommendations are consistent with the United States Department of Health & Human Services
    Physical Activity Guidelines for American. Adapted from ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and
    Prescription (8th Ed).

Benefits of Exercise

It is never too late to get trim and fit! As you grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to your health.

Benefits of exercising include (but not limited to):

Physical benefits:

  • Increase overall physical function
  • Reduce risk of falls
  • Reduce progression/onset of osteoporosis
  • Regulates blood pressure and reduces risk for type 2 diabetes

Mental benefits:

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Improve overall mood by kicking up endorphin levels
  • Decrease stress (Increase production of neurohormones such as norepinephrine)
  • Regulate body’s circadian rhythm (Although improved sleep is a psychological benefit of exercise, sleep experts recommend not exercise close to bedtime)

Myths on exercise and aging

There are many reasons why seniors tend to slow down and become more sedentary as they grow older. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues, or worries about falling.

Tips to overcome physical and emotional obstacles to getting active:

  • Reduce exercise intensity to low-moderate to tailor to your needs
  • Increase physical activity whenever possible e.g. daily walks, gardening, household chores
  • Joining clubs or social events can help increase motivation levels to stay active
As you age, you don’t have enough energy to exercise.

Myth: The more active you are, the better your activity tolerance is and the more you can do throughout the day.

Seniors are too old to exercise.

Myth: A randomised control trial analysed the effects of home exercise programs in 200 subjects aged 60 and older. Improvements in balance, lower quarter strength and disability ratings were measured after the program. No adverse health effects were noted with any of the participants.

Reference: Jette, A. M., Lachman, M., Giorgetti, M. M., Assmann, S. F., Harris, B. A., Levenson, C., Krebs, D. (1999). Exercise – it’s never too late: the strong-for-life program. American journal of public health, 89(1), 66–72.

Seniors could easily get injured while exercising.

Myth: If exercise is performed and progressed correctly, there is lower injury risk with physical activity for all ages.

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General Enquiries

As there are limited car park lots available at NKF Centre visitors may need to park at the nearby HDB car parks in the vicinity.

NKF HQ Mondays –Thursdays
PH / Weekends
8.30am –6.00pm
8.30am –5.00pm
Dialysis Centres Mondays –Saturdays
7.00am –11.00pm
7.00am –11.00pm

We are open on most public holidays except for the 1st day of Chinese New Year.

NKF does not provide ad hoc dialysis treatment. Our patients are on long-term dialysis treatment. You may wish to check with private dialysis centres for ad hoc dialysis treatments.

NKF does not have an outpatient clinic and hence, we are unable to arrange an appointment for members of the public. You may wish to contact a hospital of your choice for outpatient service.

Currently, NKF does not provide health report interpretation service. You may consult your General Practitioner who will be able to assist you.

Someone with kidney failure may not experience any signs and symptoms until it is too late. It is best to do a routine health screening to understand your health status better and detect any abnormalities as early as possible so that you can delay and manage the disease progression.

To know about the signs and symptoms please click here to learn more.

Decreased urination Swollen hands and ankles Sleep disturbances
Blood in the urine (tea-coloured or fresh blood) Puffiness around the eyes High blood pressure
Nausea and vomiting Itching Loss of appetite

All dialysis centres operate on 3 dialysis shifts –morning, noon and evening.

Morning Noon Evening
7.00am –12.00pm 12.00pm – 6.00pm 6.00pm –11.00pm
Timing of your dialysis schedule may vary for each dialysis centres.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday (1,3,5) OR Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (2,4,6)


Our Admissions Counsellor will contact you once your application is finalised. They will be in contact with you soon.

From the day we receive the application form, it will take approximately 3 working days to a week for us to get back to you if you have submitted all completed supporting documents together with your application form to us. Generally, the whole process will take 6 months for the approval.

The overall application review process will take approximately 6 months before the applicant can start the first dialysis treatment. However, if the applicant is able to provide all completed supporting documents and if there is a slot available at the dialysis centre with a right match to the time slot, the waiting time could be shorter.

Currently, we do not have status checking service online. NKF Admissions Counsellor will be in contact with the applicants regarding the status.

You may pick it up from the NKF main office at 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836 or call us at 6506 2187 to have the forms sent to you.

Means Test is used to determine the amount of subsidies each person needing care is eligible for. Persons from lower income households will be granted higher subsidies under the means test framework.

Means Test subsidies calculation is based in accordance to MOH guidelines.

Our NKF Admissions Counsellor in-charge will contact you in regards to your means test status.

The Medical Social Workers at your hospital will be able to advise you on the different type of subsidies based on your financial situation.

Kidney Live Donor Support Fund

For information on kidney donation in Singapore, you may wish to contact the National Organ Transplant Unit at Tel: 6321 4390 or email

NKF’s Kidney Live Donor Support Fund covers annual health screenings and medical follow-ups; one-time reimbursement for loss of 2 months actual income of $8,500, whichever is lower: reimbursement of hospitalisation and surgical insurance premiums (capped at MediShield Life premiums); pre-transplant screening and evaluation costs for up to 2 potential donors per kidney recipient; and insurance coverage for Group Living. Policy based on sum insured of $200,000.

For more information and eligibility, please click here. 

Donation & Volunteering

You can make the donation through different platforms:

  1. For online donation: please visit
  2. Or you may like to issue a cheque made payable to “The National Kidney Foundation” or “NKF” and mail it to us at 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836.
  3. Alternatively, you may contact us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) or email us at to send you the donation form.
  4. Road Singapore 328836.

Thank you for your generosity. The cheque should be issued to “The National Kidney Foundation” or “NKF”.

Thank you for bequeathing your CPF contributions to NKF. You can fill up the CPF nomination form which can be downloaded from the CPF website. NKF’s UEN is 200104750M.

Thank you for your generosity. You may like to visit the Ministry of Law’s website where you can find a list of lawyers based in Singapore. Please visit

Our UEN/ Company Registration No. / GST Registration No. is 200104750M.

Please send us an email at or call us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) and we will assist you accordingly.

You may email your new mailing address to , Please include your full name, contact number, old mailing address and UEN or NRIC/FIN (last 3 digits)

You may email us at to get the donation form. Please fill up your new GIRO/credit card number, donation amount and sign the form. Thereafter, post the GIRO form back to NKF for processing.

For credit card, you may wish to scan the form and send it to NKF via either of these options:

Email –

Fax – 6253 0417

Mail – 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836

Please email us at with your full name, UEN/NRIC/FIN and mailing address.

Please email us at to have the termination form sent to you. Please fill it up and send it back to us for processing and auditing purposes.

All outright cash donations to NKF are entitled to tax deduction because NKF is a registered charity with an IPC (Institutions of Public Character) status. We are able to issue tax deductible receipts for qualifying donations to our donors.

You are entitled to a tax deduction of 2.5 times the value of your donation in the preceding year.

You may sign up via our website at

If you do not have access to the internet, please call us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) to have the application form sent to you. Please fill it up and send it back to us at 81 Kim Keat Road Singapore 328836.

Once we receive your application, our colleague from the Donor and Volunteer Management Department will contact you for a phone interview. After which, you will be invited to attend our volunteer orientation. This is to allow you to have a better understanding of the volunteering activities.

The minimum age is 13 years old. For volunteers who are below the age of 21, you will need to get parental consent. You may download the consent form here.

We strongly encourage our volunteers to commit at least a year so that we can better support our patients. Our programmes and activities are flexible, you can choose your volunteering schedule according to your interest and availability.

You may volunteer with us basing on your availability. We will send a weekly email to our volunteers indicating the up-coming volunteering opportunities. You can then match your availability to the activity schedule.

We have an array of volunteering activities to suit your interest and availability. To learn more about the volunteering activities we offer, please visit

Anyone and everyone can join us as a volunteer. All applicants will be required to undergo a mandatory orientation session where you will gain insights into the Foundation’s cause, kidney disease as well as learn more about the volunteering activities we offer. Regular trainings are also conducted for all volunteers so that they can better perform their role.

Most definitely! We welcome schools, companies and community groups to volunteer with us as part of their Values In Action and Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Please get in touch with us on your interest by sending an email to

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