Dialysis exercise team: the way to sustain exercise programs in hemodialysis patients

Kidney Blood Press Res. 2014;39(2-3):129-33. doi: 10.1159/000355787. Epub 2014 Jul 29.


Patients affected by end-stage renal disease (ESRD) show quite lower physical activity and exercise capacity when compared to healthy individuals. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle is favoured by lack of a specific counseling on exercise implementation in the nephrology care setting. Increasing physical activity level should represent a goal for every dialysis patient care management. Three crucial elements of clinical care may contribute to sustain a hemodialysis exercise program: a) involvement of exercise professionals, b) real commitment of nephrologists and dialysis professionals, c) individual patient adaptation of the exercise program. Dialysis staff have a crucial role to encourage and assist patients during intra-dialysis exercise, but other professionals should be included in the ideal "exercise team" for dialysis patients. Evaluation of general condition, comorbidities (especially cardiovascular), nutritional status and physical exercise capacity are mandatory to propose an exercise program, in either extra-dialysis or intra-dialysis setting. To this aim, nephrologist should lead a team of specialists and professionals including cardiologist, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, renal dietician and nurse. In this scenario, dialysis nurses play a pivotal role since they guarantee a constant and direct approach. Unfortunately dialysis staff may often lack of information and formation about exercise management while they take care patients during the dialysis session. Building an effective exercise team, promoting the culture of exercise and increasing physical activity levels lead to a more complete and modern clinical care management of ESRD patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Renal Dialysis*