Exercise training in chronic kidney disease patients

Sports Med. 2012 Jun 1;42(6):473-88. doi: 10.2165/11630800-000000000-00000.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health problem that affects an estimated 1.7 million Australians. Patients with CKD commonly progress to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) requiring dialysis and/or kidney transplantation. They are at high risk of cardiovascular disease and many die from this prior to reaching ESKD. Few therapies are available to slow CKD progression and reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The benefit of exercise training has been well demonstrated in a range of disease conditions including ESKD and was recently highlighted by a systematic review in haemodialysis patients and a recent Cochrane review of all stages of CKD. However, the effects of exercise training in patients with CKD have not been extensively investigated. Our systematic search of the literature found only ten clinical trials in this area. The aim of this review is to review these studies, and to discuss the findings, safety considerations and suggest future areas of research. Overall, the majority of the studies are small, non-randomized, non-controlled trials. They have found that exercise training can increase exercise capacity, improve muscle strength and function, decrease blood pressure, and improve inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers. The effects of exercise training on kidney function, cardiovascular disease and quality of life are unknown. Studies are needed to answer these questions and develop evidence-based exercise training guidelines for individuals with CKD.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy