ExerciseKidney DiseaseTai Chi

Benefits of tai chi in patients with kidney disease

Researchers at Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, in Hong Kong, China, studied patients with end-stage kidney disease — complete, or almost complete failure of the kidneys to function.

The hardest part is maintaining commitment.

First, the details.

  • 72 participants were advised to exercise following the 30-minute demonstration on a videotape of low-capacity aerobic exercise based on tai chi.
  • Encouragement was given over the telephone.
  • Self-reports on practice were recorded in a logbook.
  • The effect of the program was evaluated 3 months after the program.
  • Outcomes assessment included functional mobility (timed “Up & Go” test), muscle flexibility (“Sit & Reach” test), physical capacity (“Six-Minute Walk”), and quality of life [Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form (KDQOL-SF)].

And, the results.

  • Over time, 39 participants (54%) dropped out.
  • Significant improvements were observed in the timed “Up & Go” and “Sit & Reach” tests.
  • There were also significant improvements in the “Six-Minute Walk” and in KDQOL-SF scores for emotional well-being.
  • Changes in the burden of kidney disease and general health were insignificant.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Physically, patients with end-stage renal disease benefit from home-based low-capacity aerobic exercise. A home-based program provides an alternative to outdoor and group exercise.”

But the high rate of drop outs (more than half) suggests it’s a hard sell.

3/5/11 19:30 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.