Exerce while doing hemodialysis? Yes, it’s possible . . . Some Alberta patients cycled to the moon and back

How can one exercise while doing hemodialysis?

Not only is it possible, but it has become a routine part of treatment in some dialysis units through the installation of pedal exercisers.

In fact, there are patients who have taken on the challenge of pedalling to the moon and back.

Paul Brown, a graduate of the Master of Kinesiology program at the U of Calgary, led a 2017 study on the benefit of exercise while doing dialysis. Specifically, the study looked at what level of intensity was needed for the exercise to be beneficial.

Remember that kidney disease is chronic and brings with it such things as horrible fatigue and nausea. Hemodialysis uses a machine removed toxins from the body, a process that normally is done by the kidneys.

Brown’s study, according to a story from Dec. 15, 2017 on the U of Calgary website, “showed that exercise at even a lower intensity imparted a benefit.”

“The study required each subject to complete three differing protocols — one dialysis treatment with no exercise, one with lower-intensity exercise, and one with higher-intensity exercise,” the story continued. “While exercise made the dialysis procedure more efficient, Brown found no difference between lower- and higher-intensity exercises in terms of dialysis efficiency.

“Brown says research shows that patients who exercise during dialysis also have improved aerobic capacity, leg muscle strength and quality of life, and they have lower markers for inflammation and make fewer visits to the hospital.”

(That story is right here.)

Alberta Kidney Care has taken it one step further with a series of renal fitness challenges.

In 2019, 12 teams of patients and staff “combined their exercise and activity distances in a virtual trip across the province,” according to Alberta Health Services. On a 6,600-kilometre virtual tour, they visited 10 popular tourism stops, checked in with 24 different cities with hemodialysis units.

One year earlier, the challenge was called No Limits: Mission to the Moon 2018. Participants began the 384,000 km trip on June 19, 2018, and wrapped it up on Aug. 31.

“Access to living donor kidney transplant — a life-saving treatment for patients with kidney failure — is dramatically reduced among racialized groups in Canada, with studies reporting up to 70 per cent lower likelihood of living donor transplantation in South Asian, Black, African and Caribbean populations,” reports the United Health Network (UHN).

“A.C.T.I.O.N., a joint project led by UHN’s Centre for Living Organ Donation and Providence Healthcare in British Columbia, is taking a new approach to identify and reduce barriers to access to living donor kidney transplantation among these groups.”

The piece from UHN goes on: “Barriers such as language, cultural differences, trust and representation have an impact in how healthcare is delivered, and that is particularly true with complex specialized treatment such as organ transplantation.

“Access to living donor kidney transplant . . . is dramatically reduced among racialized groups in Canada, with studies reporting up to 70 per cent lower likelihood of living donor transplantation in South Asian, Black, African and Caribbean populations.”

The complete story is right here.

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182



Or, for more information, visit right here.


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