I train a female client age 40 who had a kidney transplant two years ago. Her doctor has cleared her to exercise. I would appreciate any advice that you can offer. Thank you.
The following should be used as a guideline and is not intended to replace medical advice.
The main purposes of your exercise program design should be to improve functional capacity and her ability to carry out activities of daily living (necessities). Secondary goals of exercise should be to increase the quality of life, functional strength, mental and the emotional condition of the client.
Most transplant recipients function normally but do have some minor considerations when participating in an exercise program. Research shows that exercise is safe. However, the following considerations should be reviewed:
- Caution should be taken with contact exercise programs. The transplanted kidney is placed in the anterior abdomen and is somewhat vulnerable to trauma.
- There is an increased risk of bone fracture. Do not use isolated bodybuilding techniques (leg extension, leg presses, preacher curl machines, etc)! Use a whole body, light load approach. This approach induces less stress to any ONE area of the body. When the muscle system is working as a whole, it protects bones, joints and ligaments.
- Replace high impact jumping, running, and contact sports with low impact activities.
- Do not exercise if there are any unstable vital signs (e.g., fever, rapid/irregular pulse) or symptoms (e.g., angina, dizziness, joint pain).
- Begin the exercise program SLOWLY! Exercise research has shown that slow is safe, and there is little to gain by aggressive increases in activity level.
- Emphasize the importance of exercise for cardiovascular health and overall fitness.
- All exercises should allow strength gains in multi-directions (functional strength).
- Concentrate on basic movements (i.e., sit, walk, lift, bend, reach, push, pull, twist).
- Start with intensities that are at the same or slightly higher levels than normal activities of daily living.
- Start with 10 to 15 minute workouts, three times per week. Each week, the duration of exercise can be increased by five minutes per session.
- The client should not exercise past the point where he or she becomes unable to maintain a steady pace. It is better to stop early and continue the next day than to train to the point of exhaustion.