The Kidney TRUST

Studies Find That Strength Training Can Help Prevent or Control CKD

A Los Angeles Times article on February 16, 2022 entitled “Strength training does more than bulk up muscles” summarizes recent research on the overall health benefits of strength training, including the many positive effects that it has for patients on dialysis and for people who are at risk for diabetes and chronic kidney disease (“CKD”). 

The article notes, “Another big advantage of working out with weights is improving glucose metabolism, which can reduce the risk of diabetes. Strength training boosts the number of proteins that take glucose out of the blood and transport it into the skeletal muscle, giving the muscles more energy and lowering overall blood-glucose levels.”  According to an expert quoted int he article, “If you have uncontrolled glucose levels, that can lead to kidney damage, damage to the circulatory system and loss of eyesight.”

The article goes on to say, “The benefits don’t end there. A 2010 study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested that people on dialysis can benefit from building muscle. Researchers found that kidney dialysis patients who had the most lean muscle mass — a measurement derived from the circumference of the mid-arm muscle — were 37% less likely to die than the patients who had the least.”

And the aticle addresses the effects of strength training for people who already have CKD, which affects over 31 million Americans: “Even people who already have chronic kidney disease could benefit from strength workouts. Germany began to incorporate modified exercise equipment into dialysis treatment centers in 1995, and a 2004 study in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases examining that policy found that exercise may improve the efficiency of dialysis by increasing blood flow through the muscle and improving phosphate removal.”