Many people believe that dialysis is the end of many aspects of life, and it is not. Thousands of people manage to continue with their normal lives. These people suffer a permanent condition and need particular care, though, but it is possible to live with dialysis. An evidence of this is the wide number of athletes who have shown the world that it is possible to get ahead in these harsh conditions. Sean Elliot, Ed Hearn, Paul Hutchins, Donald Jones, Chris Kemoeatu … they know what you have been going through, and they have found ways to get ahead with sports. In addition, they have also helped the medical community a bit. It is known that exercising is very helpful during dialysis, which was previously considered unthinkable, both for patients and doctors.
In this post, we will talk about exercise during dialysis treatment. In addition to the benefits, what exercises could you do to improve your health conditions?
According to an article from the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (2017,) dialysis patients who exercise daily have a better quality of life and suffer less risk of getting worse and dying. Actually, exercise favors circulation and oxygen levels in the blood, helps food to be processed better, improves the mood of patients, strengthens the immune system, benefits the quality of sleep, and, above all, increases the effectiveness of dialysis because the filtering of blood is much higher.
This knowledge is not new. In fact, more than three decades, it is already known that exercise brings great benefits for patients with renal failure. What has happened is that the knowledge about this was not extensively widespread during all these years. Now it’s a trend, and, by the way, most doctors advise patients with kidney failure to exercise on a daily basis (including elderly patients.)
The main concern that arises, especially in the case of athletes, is related to food. An athlete needs a greater amount of energy than a sedentary person, and the problem is that some of the foods that provide this energy may be counterproductive for a kidney failure patient. Meat, for example. An athlete needs a greater amount of protein, but patients with kidney problems should be very careful with purines. For this reason, it is highly advisable to listen to the considerations of dietitians in these cases.
So, what exercises are recommendable, then?
Along with any exercise of your choice, from basketball to yoga, and snowboarding, these indoor and outdoor exercises could be an excellent alternative for you:
Aerobic exercise, unlike others, is not designed to beautify muscles, but to strengthen the cardiovascular system. Unlike most gym routines, these exercises do not seek to develop the strength of the muscles, but rather their resistance. These are the exercises that consume more body fat and which provide a greater amount of oxygen to the bloodstream. An additional benefit of aerobics is that they help the body to release a lot of endorphins, which is quite positive for patients with renal failure since depression is quite common in these cases.
Read also: Dialysis most common complications, by Joe Cosgrove
Tai Chi and Martial Arts
Strength exercises are also very beneficial. For this reason, if you want to combine aerobic exercise with strength exercises, martial arts are a must. Besides that they will help you to attain discipline, you will have belt-challenges to stay motivated. Martial arts usually consist of really complete exercises. Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, Karate, and Jiu-Jitsu: all of them are wonderful.
However, if you consider yourself a less explosive person, Tai Chi is a good option. Although Tai Chi began as an attack and defense system in the past, it gradually became a meditation in motion which is tremendously beneficial for the health of the body and the mind.
Swimming is one of the most recommended exercises by doctors, and for several reasons. One of them is that in the cold water of a swimming pool, your muscles will work with more effort and this allows not only to burn more than five hundred calories per session but to strengthen the muscles and the immune system. Swimming delays aging improves the lung capacity of people (a regular session of swimming is an excellent aerobic exercise) and strengthens the lung capacity which translates into higher levels of oxygen.
Wim Hof Method
You probably do not know the ‘Iceman,’ Wim Hof, the creator of a very interesting therapy that has broken paradigms in medical science for its interesting findings. Wim Hof is able to withstand ice-cold temperatures for ninety minutes, to run a marathon in a desert without drinking a drop of water, and to keep his breath for ten minutes under the water. He has achieved it with a lot of work, and now he teaches in seminars and apps. Although it sounds fake to skeptics, the Wim Hof method not only strengthens the immune system in a very powerful way but also helps patients to control their anxiety. The system consists of a series of breaths repetitions, flexibility exercises, and icy water dives (just judge yourself.)
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