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Keeping Fit for Kidney Transplant Patients

Exercise helps to improve the cardiovascular function of the body, regulates blood pressure and blood sugar, provides patients with better physical function and reduces the negative side effects of immunosuppressant drugs that patients are required to take after receiving a kidney transplant. As cardiovascular health is also the main contributor for post-transplantation mortality, post-transplant patients are strongly advised to exercise as they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

How long after a transplant, should patients begin to exercise?

The duration of rest required before embarking on an exercise depends on the patient’s age and health condition. Patients should always check with their transplant doctor on their suitability before beginning any exercise programs.

What exercises are suitable?

Start with light intensity, low impact exercise such as walking. Once an initial level of fitness has been built up, patients can begin to incorporate strengthening exercises to their routine.

Click here for Strengthening Exercises (Hues booklet)

How frequent should I exercise?

Transplant patients can aim to have 60 minutes of activity 2 to 3 times a week. This activity should comprise of both aerobics and resistance training. However, if time or fitness level does not allow you to perform an activity for 60 minutes straight, exercising for 20 minutes several times a day has been shown to provide similar benefits. Patients should target to exercise at least twice a week.

As exercise may not show any immediate benefits, patients should not feel discouraged if they do not see any visible results after exercising for 2 or 3 sessions. Rather, they should continue with a program unless they feel uncomfortable. They should monitor their progress and check with exercise physicians should they have any doubts.

Click here for Hues of Health Booklet

*The above information and recommendations are general guidelines, and should not be viewed as specific advice for any individual. Please consult your doctor or other health care advisors for personal health decisions and/or before attempting to increase your exercise intensity level if you have prior medical conditions.

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The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) strives to be an advocate and integrator for kidney health and holistic care for the community by the community. While supporting kidney failure patients with quality dialysis treatment and integrated care, its greater mission lies in preventing or delaying kidney failure through kidney health education with deeper integration into the community and strategic collaborative partnerships.
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