Exercise that Packs a 1-2 Punch…Protecting Both the Heart and the Kidney
The kidney and the heart are inextricably connected. They might even be called co-conspirators, since any lifestyle practice that increases risk for heart disease also increases risk for kidney disease. People with kidney failure are three times as likely to have heart disease and additionally, high blood pressure causes both kidney and heart disease.
In honor of National Kidney Month in March and World Kidney Day on March 8, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) offers five fitness tips to help protect both the kidneys and the heart and increase longevity.
- Be sure to get 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 times a week. Of that, 10 minutes at least 2 or 3 times a week should include light weight training. Use 5 or 10 lb dumbbells or do chair exercises with sandbags strapped to the ankles.
- If you have trouble with your back or joints, swimming or walking in water will help achieve good cardio performance. Swimming is the best physical activity of all because it keeps all weight off the joints, causing no wear and tear. The NKF recommends swimming for 30 minutes at least 4 times a week.
- Take the staircase wherever possible, instead of riding the elevator or escalator.
- Get in the habit of biking or walking, rather than driving, while running errands or heading to appointments.
- If you're planning to do highly vigorous physical activity, stay well-hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids and keep a water bottle handy. This practice will protect against kidney stones as well as dehydration and bladder infections.
For more information about fitness and the kidneys, visit the National Kidney Foundation at www.kidney.org