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Chronic Kidney Disease Patients can Benefit from Weightlifting
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Chronic Kidney Disease Patients can Benefit from Weightlifting

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Highlights:
  • Weightlifting provides significant health benefits for kidney disease patients.
  • Aerobic exercise when combined with resistance exercise increases muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness in patients.
  • The changes were noted among patients only after doing exercise.

Weightlifting provides significant health benefits to patients suffering from chronic kidney diseases (CKD), finds a study conducted at University of Leicester researchers, led by Dr Emma Watson, Dr Tom Wilkinson and Professor Alice Smith. The study mainly indicates that patients with non-dialysis chronic kidney disease who underwent aerobic exercise and combined exercise for 12 weeks, 3 times a week showed significant development in leg muscle size, strength and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Patients doing aerobic exercises like treadmill, cycling, rowing and walking showed positive changes. When resistance exercise like weightlifting was added along with aerobic exercise, it led to the increase of muscle mass by 9% and strength by 49%. Whereas, the increase in rate was only 5% and 17% while doing aerobic exercise alone.

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"There is limited research on the effects of exercise in CKD patients, and a lack of knowledge on what exercise is most beneficial in this group," says Dr Tom Wilkinson from the University of Leicester's Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation. He also indicates that both strength exercise and aerobic exercise are very important in CKD patients in order to keep their muscles strong and healthy. Dr Emma Watson, another scientist suggests that for optimal results, it is better to combine both the aerobic and strength exercise in the same exercise session.

A study was conducted among patients at Leicester's Hospitals, they were observed for 6 weeks before starting the exercise. The researchers wanted to see if there was any 'natural' change in strength, fitness, and muscle, but the results did not show any change. This proves that changes occur only after doing exercise.
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Patients then underwent 12 weeks of supervised combined training (aerobic exercise plus leg extension and leg press exercise) and aerobic-based exercise (treadmill, rowing or cycling exercise) for 30 minutes, 3 times a week at the Leicester Diabetes Centre gym. The results were then analyzed by the scientists.

One female patient, aged 80, said: "I went for my first session and I was absolutely over the moon. I loved it because it was just exercise and I thought fancy to me at my age and I can do all this. I thought when I tell my grandchildren they will be absolutely delighted. I used to really like the exercise and the staff there were so supportive and explained everything to me. I was just a very happy lady."

"I have certainly noticed that my general level of fitness changed after the extra CKD and I discovered muscles that I hadn't had for a little while," added a male patient, 62-years-old, who took part in the study.

About Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is a slow and progressive loss of kidney function over a period of time. This usually results in kidney failure. The most common symptoms of the disease are fatigue, high blood pressure and blood in urine. The condition can be diagnosed by biopsy, blood test and kidney scan. Currently, there is no cure for the disease, but therapies help in controlling the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Reference
  1. Emma L Watson,Douglas W Gould,Thomas J Wilkinson,Soteris Xenophontos,Amy L Clarke,Barbara Perez Vogt,João Luís Viana,Alice C Smith. 12-weeks combined resistance and aerobic training confers greater benefits than aerobic alone in non-dialysis CKD American Journal of Physiology(2018)


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