Struggling to stay motivated to exercise? You’re not alone. Regular exercise is important for kidney disease patients to improve muscle strength and function, lower blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight. Many of our early stage CKD patients even find that low-intensity exercise helps combat feelings of lethargy and tiredness from kidney disease.
When exercise starts to feel like a chore, here are five tips to keep going.
Expand your definition of exercise
When we think about exercise, many of us picture weightlifting at the gym, marathon runners, or sweaty group fitness classes. But there are so many other types of movement that are beneficial to the health of kidney disease patients. Doing chores around the house, tending to your garden, going for a hike at your local park, and playing golf can all have a positive impact on your health. Think about exercise as any time your body is in motion – the most important thing is to avoid long periods of inactivity.
Incorporate movement into the day
If a dedicated workout each day feels like too much or doesn’t suit your lifestyle, try incorporating movement throughout your day. Do some light stretching or yoga in the morning to wake up your muscles, take a short walk around your neighborhood at lunch, and ride your bike to run an errand nearby in the afternoon. Try parking further away from your destination to get some extra steps in and breaking up long periods of sitting with a standing break. Every little bit of movement counts and contributes to your health!
Track your activity
Documenting a movement goal, such as taking a 15 minute walk five days each week, and your activity allows you to monitor your progress and look back at how far you’ve come on the days you’re struggling to stick with it. There are so many different wearable fitness trackers and apps that make visualizing your activity easy. You might also find it helpful to keep an exercise diary of what you did, how long you moved, and how it felt.
Pay attention to your body
Your body will send signals when you need rest – listen to it! If it feels like you’ve pushed a muscle too far, you have a fever, or you’re completely exhausted, take a break from working out. Rest when you need to rest and get back on track once you’ve recovered.
Remember your why
On the days you just don’t want to exercise, it can help to remember your reasons for starting on this fitness journey in the first place. For kidney patients, that might look like reducing the impact of hypertension, having more energy to go about your day, or improving your mood. Write down your list and keep it in a visible place, maybe as a note on your phone or card on your fridge.
Regardless of where you are in your kidney disease journey, exercise plays an important role in your holistic health. Before making any big changes to your fitness routine, talk to your Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati care team.