Intradialytic exercise is the exercise a person does during their dialysis treatment. One of the main benefits is the patient is effectively a captive participant to exercise.
Various forms of exercise has been beneficial in reducing and preventing leg cramps. According to several studies including the report “A Guide for People on Dialysis” by Patricia Painter PhD administered by the Medical Education Institute.
Hemodialysis treatments take upward to 4 hours and recent studies are showing improved mental and physical health results. Although the studies are still in its infancy many Hemodialysis Units and Renal Programs around the world are beginning to adopt Intradialytic Exercise.
The Dialysis Medical Pedaller can be used while seated, reclined, or laying in bed. Although strength training with weight or bands is possible it is more difficult during the dialysis treatment.
Some of the barriers to participation include financial costs. Fortunately there are affordable medical dialysis pedal options available on the market.
Other hindrances to including an exercise during dialysis program involve the staff. They are the ones that need to set up the equipment for the patient to operate. This can add time and effort to already busy workers.
Additionally there are considerations regarding the health of the patient. Dialysis causes fatigue and other issues. Participation is voluntary.
The following is from the presentation of Ken Wilund, PhD from the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health Division of Nutritional Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Demonstrated results included improved:
– muscle mass, physical function and strength.
– Dialysis efficiency
– function and health of the heart and arteries
– quality of life.
One example of improved mental health involves a 60 year old Caucasian male diagnosed with severe depression. He was given the regime of intradialytic cycling 3 days a week for 45 minutes. The result?
Another example of how the positive health benefits are affecting patients is reported by a sedentary 60 year old obese, diabetic Hispanic male. He decided to try cycling at the clinic for one hour during his treatment. He then bought his own bike for home where he and his wife both ride.
The remarkable results motivated him to lose weight, eat better, and he got a transplant.
Reduce Leg Cramping from Dialysis
Aside from pharmaceutical intervention there are more holistic strategies that have shown positive results in reducing leg cramps after and during dialysis treatments.
Leg cramps can be very painful causing early termination of treatment. Applying a moist heat pad may give some comfort as well as hands-on massaging of the muscles.
Forms of physical fitness that can ease painful spasms include balance, breathing, isometric, and relaxation exercises. Stretching exercises help as well as mild movement exercises prior and during dialysis. An example of light exercises is the pedalling of a small dialysis bicycle.
There are also recorded benefits of light exercise before bed. Keep the bed covers loose to help prevent cramping.
Reducing or removing caffeine and alcohol from the diet is recommended.