Lifting weights has health benefits for people with chronic kidney disease

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Combining resistance training with aerobics led to greater increases in muscle mass and strength

Lifting weights is not just for the young and happening keen to flaunt their biceps, it can actually have health benefits for patients suffering from kidney disease.

A new study by University of Leicester researchers, led by Dr Emma Watson, Dr Tom Wilkinson, and Professor Alice Smith, has shown that non-dialysis chronic kidney disease (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.

 recently released State Level Disease Burden Study for India shows that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) shows the fifth largest increase in prevalence (26.1%)  between 1990 to 2016.

While positive changes were seen in patients just doing aerobic exercise – 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.

Every year there are 2.2 lakh new patients of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in India. The recently released State Level Disease Burden Study for India shows that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) shows the fifth largest increase in prevalence (26.1%)  between 1990 to 2016.

“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. 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,” says Dr Tom Wilkinson from the University of Leicester’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation. Individual patients would though have to discuss their exercise schedule with their physicians.

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 analysed the potential health benefits.

 

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