Researchers have shown that individuals with non-dialysis chronic kidney disease who performed aerobic exercise as well as a combination of resistance and aerobic exercises 3 times a week for 12 weeks experienced considerable increases in leg muscle size, cardio respiratory fitness and strength. Although positive results were observed in individuals doing only aerobic exercises like cycling, rowing and treadmill walking, adding resistance exercises like lifting weights resulted in greater muscle mass and strength increases in comparison to aerobic exercise alone (9% in comparison to 5%) and (49% in comparison to 17%) respectively.
Limited research exists on the impact of exercise in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), and which exercise is more beneficial for CKD patients is unclear. This study demonstrates the importance of aerobic as well as strength exercises in patients with CKD for keeping the muscles healthy and strong and can be combined safely and successfully.
Before starting the exercise routine, the study participants underwent a 6 week control period in which any ‘natural’ changes in fitness, strength, and muscle were observed. There were no changes observed, meaning that any changes observed after the study were due to the exercise routine. Individuals then performed 30 minutes of supervised aerobic exercise (rowing, cycling or treadmill exercise) 3 times a week for 12 weeks, or a combination of resistance and aerobic training (leg press and leg extension exercises plus aerobic exercise). The potential health benefits were then analyzed.