Weightlifting Shows Benefits For Kidney Disease Patients

Source: University of Leicester

Summary: A new study by researchers found that Lifting weights can provide significant health benefits to patients suffering from kidney disease.

There is limited research on the effects of exercise in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, and a lack of knowledge on what exercise is most beneficial in this group. CKD is a type of kidney disease in which there is a slow and progressive loss of kidney function. Researchers from the University of Leicester has shown that non-dialysis CKD patients who conducted both aerobic exercise and combined exercise for 12 weeks, 3 times a week experienced significant increases in strength, leg muscle size and cardiorespiratory fitness. Positive changes were seen in patients just doing aerobic exercises – such as treadmill walking, cycling and rowing – the addition of resistance exercise, such as weightlifting, led to greater increases in muscle mass (9% compared to 5%) and strength (49% compared to 17%) than aerobic exercise alone. The study findings were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Credit: University of Leicester

Patients, who were recruited from outpatient clinics at Leicester’s Hospitals, had a 6 week run in control period before starting the exercise programme. The researchers observed any ‘natural‘ changes in strength, fitness, and muscle. No changes were seen, which meant that any changes seen after the intervention were a result of the exercise. Patients then underwent 12 weeks of supervised aerobic-based exercise (treadmill, rowing or cycling exercise) for 30 minutes, or combined training (aerobic exercise plus leg extension and leg press exercise) performed 3 times week. The researchers then analyzed the potential health benefits.

Dr. Tom Wilkinson said, “Our study shows that both aerobic exercises and strength exercises are important in CKD patients in keeping muscles strong and healthy and can be combined successfully and safely.”

More Information: Emma L Watson et al, “12-weeks combined resistance and aerobic training confers greater benefits than aerobic alone in non-dialysis CKD”, American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology (2018). DOI: 10.1152/ajprenal.00012.2018

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