Getting Active and Kidney Disease

The Key Points: 

Suggestions on how to get active:

Please talk to your GP before starting a new exercise regime.

  • Just moving a little every 30 to 60 minutes can have profound effects on your physical and mental health, reducing your risk of kidney disease. Instead of being sat at your desk all day, after each meeting get up and do a few minutes’ walk.
  • You don’t have to run a 5k to get active or become active, just going for a 10-minute walk in the morning and evening is a good starting point.
  • Pick an activity that you enjoy and see if a friend or family member wants to get involved. Getting active with a friend or family member can help to get you motivated and stay motivated.
  • When first starting out, start off slowly and build the duration and intensity of exercise up over time. This helps to adapt your body over time and reduce the amount of muscle soreness the next day.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times a week, ensure not to have more than 2 days of rest between exercise sessions.

Getting Active & Kidney Disease: The Key Points

  • Chronic kidney disease is a global health problem that affects 1 in 10 Europeans1. Having chronic kidney disease has also been recognised as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Performing regular physical activity has been seen to play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic health diseases such as kidney disease and cardiovascular disease2,3.
  • Regularly performing physical activity improves a number of metabolic factors including lower levels of bad cholesterol, lower resting blood pressure and improved insulin resistance. This in turn reduces your risk of both chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease4.
  • As with diabetes physical activity recommendations, no more than 2 consecutive days should elapse without exercise. This is due to the benefits that exercise has on insulin sensitivity response, which lasts between 24 and 72 hours5.


    1. Brück, K., Jager, K.J., Dounousi, E., Kainz, A., Nitsch, D., Arnlov, J., et al. (2015). “Methodology used in studies reporting chronic kidney disease prevalence: a systematic literature review.” Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. 4(4):iv6-16.
    2. Wilkinson, T.J., Shur, N.F., and Smith, A.C. (2016). ““Exercise as Medicine” in chronic kidney disease.” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 26:985-988.
    3. Barcellos, F.C., Santos, I.S., Umpierre, D., Bohlke, M., and Hallal, P.C. (2015). “Effects of Exercise in the whole spectrum of chronic kidney disease: a systematic review.” Clinical Kidney Journal. 8(6):753-65.
    4. TjØnna, A.E., Lee, S.J., Rognmo, Ø, StØlen, T.O., Bye, A., Haram, P.M., Loennechen, J.P., et al. (2008). “Aerobic Interval training versus continuous moderate exercise as a treatment for the metabolic syndrome: a pilot study.” Circulation. 118(4):346-354.
    5. Stump, C,S. (2011). “Physical Activity in the Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease.” Cardiorenal Medicine. 1(3):164-173