What You Should Know About Exercise

Why is exercise important to me?

Exercise is important for many reasons:

  • It helps you lose excess weight and keep the weight off.
  • It helps prevent many diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis.
  • It helps prevent high blood cholesterol.
  • It helps build strength and endurance.
  • It helps prevent injuries.
  • It builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

What types of exercise can benefit my health?

Many types of exercise can benefit your health, such as:

  • walking
  • taking part in a sport
  • doing household chores
  • gardening
  • aerobic exercises (e.g., brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking).

Can anyone exercise?

Yes. However, it's important that the type of activity is appropriate to your:

  • age
  • physical condition
  • level of ability.

If you have any chronic illnesses, it's important to check with your doctor before you start.

How often should I exercise?

If you have not exercised for a while, you should start with mild exercises for 10 to 15 minutes a day. You should gradually add more strenuous exercises, such as aerobic exercises, and extend the time until you reach 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.

What is aerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercise is more strenuous exercise that does the following:

  • increases your heart rate
  • makes you breathe deeply
  • moves your large muscle groups.

Some examples of aerobic exercise are:

  • brisk walking
  • aerobic dancing
  • jogging
  • skiing
  • cycling
  • using exercise equipment like a treadmill or exercise bike
  • swimming.

Is it important to stretch before and after exercising?

Yes. Stretching before and after exercising helps to prevent injuries and strengthens your muscles and bones.

I'm so busy. How can I find time to exercise?

Anyone can work some exercise into the daily schedule. You can do many exercises at home, outdoors or even at work. Here are some suggestions:

  • Exercise while watching TV. You can do stretching exercises or use free weights or exercise equipment such as an exercise bike.
  • Exercise around the neighborhood. You can bike to the store, work in the garden, mow the lawn or take out a ball or frisbee and offer to play a game with the kids.
  • Exercise at work. Park your car at a distance or get off the bus a stop early and walk 10 minutes to the office. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a brisk walk on your lunch hour, or join the team if your company participates in recreational sports.

How can I make exercise a habit?

  • Choose something you like to do.
  • Find a partner, someone to exercise with you.
  • Alternate your routine: walk one day, dance the next.
  • Make exercise fun: exercise with a group or exercise to music.
  • Stay positive: don't worry if you do not see progress right away. It may take weeks before you notice any change.
  • Check your progress: see if you can walk a longer distance or exercise for longer periods of time without getting tired.

For more information:

  • Call the National Kidney Foundation's toll-free number 1-800-622-9010.

If you would like more information, please contact us.

©2014 National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.