Content Map Terms
Chronic Kidney Disease happens when there is kidney damage, or decreased kidney function, for three months or more. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the main causes of chronic kidney disease in Canada. About 15% of adults in Canada and the USA have chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease may progress to end-stage renal disease, which means the kidneys cannot effectively filter blood on their own. When this happens, people can be treated with dialysis, a kidney transplant or supportive care.
Physical Activity and Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you have kidney disease, aim to do regular physical activity to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Regular physical activity can help improve:
- Physical fitness and physical function
- Some symptoms, such as depression, tiredness, and restless leg syndrome
- Quality of life
- How the brain works (cognition)
Low-risk Chronic Kidney Disease and End-Stage Renal Disease
If you have chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease that is controlled and if you are at low risk of medical complications, you can start physical activity by yourself or with family and friends.
High-risk Chronic Kidney Disease and End-Stage Renal Disease
If you have high-risk medical conditions, such as severe heart disease, or your kidney disease is not yet controlled, see your health care professional before starting a physical activity program. If you have chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease and have been cleared for physical activity:
- Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five days per week. To get maximum health benefits, it is best to do both aerobic (i.e., cycling, jogging and swimming) and muscle strengthening (i.e., lifting weights) activities.
Remember, any movement is better than none. Try to choose activities you enjoy and will continue to do.
Living with Reduced Kidney Function: Book One. (Kidney Foundation, Canada)
A booklet that includes basic information about staying active while living with kidney disease.
Living with Kidney Failure: Book Two. (Kidney Foundation, Canada)
A booklet that includes basic information about staying activity while living with kidney failure.
Exercise for people on dialysis (My Health Alberta, Canada)
Basic information for clients with kidney disease about why exercise is important. It includes simple ideas to weave activity into your life and ways to overcome barriers to getting started and sticking with activity.
Kidney disease and Exercise (Exercise is Medicine, Australia)
A factsheet specific to kidney disease that provides basic information about why it is important to exercise and general principles of recommended types of exercise and how hard and how often to do them.
Staying Fit with Kidney Disease (National Kidney Foundation, USA)
Basic information about when to start physical activity, how hard, how often and how long to be active for, and when to stop physical activity when living with kidney disease.
Being Active When You Have Chronic Kidney Disease (Exercise Is Medicine, USA)
This handout presents the benefits of physical activity for persons with chronic kidney disease, the types of activity that have a positive impact on chronic kidney disease, and getting started and staying safe with physical activity.
Last updated: October 2023