Weightlifting During Dialysis Beneficial to Patients


Nov 6, 2022

Weightlifting During Dialysis Beneficial to Patients

Weightlifting During Dialysis Combats Muscle Wasting

According to an Australian research study published in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology, the muscle wasting often seen in end stage renal disease (ESRD) can be combated with exercises done while the patient is also receiving dialysis treatments.  Muscle wasting is common among ESRD patients, and it is a primary risk factor for premature death. 

"Doing high-intensity weight lifting exercises during dialysis sessions helps to counteract muscle wasting by building muscle mass and strength," said Bobby Cheema, lead study author.

Therefore the research team concluded that exercise for end stage renal disease patients should be a standard practice that is part of the basic care routine at all dialysis centers. 

The study assessed a total of 49 patients with end stage renal disease that were receiving hemodialysis treatments at a dialysis center.  The 49 patients were divided into two groups. One group continued to receive the same care they had been receiving with no changes to their exercise routine.  The other group was given exercise equipment including dumbbells and ankle weights and instructed to begin a program of high-intensity weightlifting exercises while seated in the dialysis chair during their three times per week dialysis treatments.  

After twelve weeks of participating, the patients who were in the group that exercised had improved muscle mass and improved muscle strength.  They experienced an improved quality of life, and a reduction in “pro inflammatory markers which are associated with death from cardiovascular disease and other causes”.  

"The exercise was carried out safely within the hemodialysis sessions, without any interference to routine care, and no need to change dialysis procedures; our findings suggest that patients who regularly perform resistance training exercise during hemodialysis treatment can significantly improve muscle mass , strength, quality of life, and other aspects of health status that are important to people with kidney failure," stated Cheema.

You should always consult with your own team of healthcare providers before you begin a new exercise program.  Your provider will be able to guide you in choosing the best new program for your particular conditions and your health goals. 

The National Kidney Foundation also has information and tips to staying fit with kidney disease here.

About Dr. Bobby Cheema (PhD)

Source: http://www.drbobbycheema.com

Dr. Bobby Cheema is an Associate Professor at Western Sydney University, Research Associate at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, and Accredited Exercise Physiologist.  He has nearly 30 years of experience in exercise physiology and prescription, and is internationally recognized for the quality of his work.  A complete list of his publications can be accessed at Google Scholar and Research Gate.

Dr. Cheema lives on the South Coast of New South Wales with his wife and two sons.  He enjoys surfing, training, reading and traveling.


ABC News


National Kidney Foundation

National Library of Medicine

About the Author

Monica Thomas

Monica McCarthy has bachelors in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Central Washington University.  A majority of her career was spent as a political consultant.   She currently works at KidneyLuv as a staff writer.

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This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional. KidneyLuv makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.

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