Let’s Talk About Exercise and CKD: Flexibility

If you did not read yesterday’s introduction to this topic be sure and go back to it, plus watch the video. If you are new here, my name is Melissa, and I have CKD. In 2016, on Christmas Day, my left kidney failed. It has been a long journey back to health and wellness, and I feel stronger and healthier today than I did in years. I am 53 years young and my eGFR is 58 at my last check last week. I have gone to 61, but now hover right around 59. I am still super pleased with that, though it remains a goal for my kidneys to get to stage 2 and consistently stay there. Diet and exercise are the two things that I truly believe helped me to heal my kidneys.

Now, as I write all that, please do not believe that I can run a marathon or something, I can not. Having CKD still means that I have limitations, plus my age is a consideration as well. I am a nurse by trade, and I still do floor nursing 3 days a week. This is very hard on the body when you are young, let alone in your fifties with CKD. However, I also know that having a desk job would be very detrimental to my movement goals and I am just not ready for that.

If you read yesterday, then you know two of my weakest areas are flexibility and balance. Now, I do have both of those to some degree because I walk every single day. I have a general goal of 8,000 steps per day. That is the number I try to make sure I reach every single day. 10,000 steps is my middle goal, and 12,500 is my ultimate goal. When I work I easily reach the middle goal, and a lot of times the ultimate goal. So, I obviously have to be flexible to some degree to be able to walk that many steps in a day and even in an 8-hour shift. But, I am not purposely making sure my flexibility is a focus and a goal. Some days my hamstrings are killing me after working all day, as well as my feet. I am prone to Charlie Horse’s too, and I am sure all of these things are because I do not do active stretching.

I am sharing an article, here, on the importance of flexibility for everyone. But, from the perspective of CKD, flexibility is super important for maintaining your daily life activities, and for keeping muscles toned and strong. Being able to have a good quality of life should be a major goal for anyone with Kidney Disease.

Remember to always start slow and only do what your body will allow you to do. No pain no gain is a myth and should not be applied to anyone with CKD. With that said, you do have to continually challenge your muscles, so small increments of increase are important, including not doing the same exercises forever even if you really like them. Always check with your doctor first to be sure they want you to exercise. Rest when you need to, and stop if you have pain. If you can do these activities mindfully it is even better.

So, for this week, I set a goal, and I will definitely try to do it every week going forward, to do at least 3 days of dedicated flexibility work. It will probably be on the days that I work. Below are some videos that I will be using because I like them. Choose the level that is good for you. If none of these fit your needs there are a million more to choose from. These are active warmups that focus on flexibility, not static exercises. I don’t care for those, but they can play a role.

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