10 Exercise Do's and Don'ts - E-Kidney | Oct 2013

August 12, 2014, 10:06am EDT

Fall FitnessDid you know that obesity places you at increased risk for kidney disease? It directly causes diabetes and high blood pressure, two of the leading causes of kidney disease. Indirectly, carrying extra weight forces the kidneys to work harder to filter the toxins and wastes from the body which can ultimately damage the kidneys’ filters. With so many reasons to lose weight, why wait until January to start on a health-kick or launch a new fitness routine? Protect your kidneys with 10 Fitness Do’s and Don’ts from the National Kidney Foundation. Carpe diem!

  1. DO head outside to enjoy the fall weather! Just be mindful of the sunset and sunrise times so that you’re able to enjoy the moderate temperatures that autumn brings. Explore local parks and trails, and go for a brisk walk or bike ride. Strive for 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week.
  2. DON’T forget to drink water. In the summer heat, it can be easier to remember to stay hydrated. Don’t forget that even in the cooler weather, your body still needs ample fluid, so be sure to sip H2O!
  3. DO team up with friends, family or colleagues to help you reach your fitness goals. People are more likely to stick with an exercise routine when others help hold them accountable. Not sure where to start? Pair up with co-workers and form a walking club during lunch. Meet a friend in the morning or evening to go for a walk. It’s a win-win for everyone!
  4. DON’T get discouraged. No change in the number on the scale? Losing weight and establishing healthy habits takes time. Don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. Instead, focus on the fitness progress you’re making. For example, maybe you started out feeling winded after walking a mile, but now you’re able to easily walk for a mile and a half. That’s a 50% improvement, so don’t discount it even if it hasn’t yet translated to weight loss. Keep making headway because you’re well on your way to a healthier you!
  5. DO think outside the gym. Physical activity can take the shape of gardening, raking leaves in the yard, or pumpkin or apple picking. Trick-or-treating even counts if you’re walking around the neighborhood. Try monitoring your steps with a pedometer. Also, just because you’re having fun, doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as exercise. In fact, you’re more likely to keep it up if fitness doesn’t feel like a chore.
  6. DON’T just assume you’ll find time to exercise; make time! Intent is a great first step, but take a leap and allocate specific times for physical activity. If you schedule exercise time in your calendar – as you would any other meeting or appointment – you’re more likely to follow through with it.
  7. DO remember that small lifestyle modifications make a difference in establishing healthy habits. Simple changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and parking your car further from the store when running errands all add up. Are there days when you don’t have a lot of time to incorporate physical activity? It’s not all or nothing, so instead of skipping your workouts altogether, do what you can. Even walking for 10 minutes, three times a day can make a difference.
  8. DON’T overlook the impact of a healthy diet on your exercise routine. If you amp up your physical activity but consume even more calories, you could end up gaining, rather than losing weight – so be mindful of the eating choices that you’re making. Follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Limit sodium and sugar-sweetened foods and drinks.
  9. DO track your progress. Keep a journal or calendar and log your physical activity. Online savvy? There are many free web and mobile apps that make tracking your exercise routines very easy. As you hit your fitness goals and milestones, reward yourself (just don’t sabotage your progress with food-based rewards)!
  10. DON’T underestimate the power of multitasking. When watching football or your favorite fall TV shows, do crunches, planks or jumping jacks. Even just pacing in your living room during commercials decreases your “sitting time” which has been shown to increase one’s risk of developing kidney disease. Attending your kids’ sports practices or games? Instead of lounging in the lawn chair and chatting with the other parents, ask them to walk up and down the sideline with you. You’ll be able to chat, watch and exercise all at the same time!