Objectives: The purpose of this study is to determine whether a low-to-moderate intensity pre-conditioning exercise programme linked with exercise counselling could improve behavioural change, physical fitness, physiological condition and health-related quality of life of sedentary haemodialysis patients in The Netherlands.
Methods: Ninety-six haemodialysis patients of the Groningen Dialysis Center were randomized into an exercise group (n = 53) and a control group (n = 43). The exercise programme consists of cycling during dialysis together with a pre-dialysis strength training programme lasting 12 weeks. The intensity of the exercise programme is condition level 12-16 according to the rate of perceived exertion (RPE). Motivational interviewing techniques were used for exercise counselling. Before and after the intervention, both groups were tested on behavioural change and physical fitness components such as reaction time, manual dexterity, lower extremity muscle strength and VO2 peak. Physiological conditions such as weight, blood pressure, haemoglobin and haematocrit values, cholesterol and Kt/V were obtained from the medical records. Health-related quality of life assessment included RAND-36 scores, symptoms and depression.
Results: A group x time analysis with MANOVA (repeated measures) demonstrates that participation in a low-to-moderate intensity exercise programme linked with exercise counselling yields a significant increase in behavioural change, reaction time, lower extremity muscle strength, Kt/V and three components of quality of life, and no significant effects in the control group.
Conclusion: Participating in a low-to-moderate intensity pre-conditioning exercise programme showed beneficial effects on behavioural change, physical fitness, physiological conditions and health-related quality of life.