Chalk up another benefit of walking for exercise. New research shows that among people with chronic kidney disease, walking may help prolong life and reduce the risk of needing dialysis or a kidney transplant.
The study, published online today in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, evaluated 6363 patients with moderate to end-stage kidney disease at the China Medical University Hospital in Taichung, Taiwan. On average, patients were 70 years old and investigators followed up their exercise patterns for 1.3 years.
About one-fifth of the patients said walking was their most common form of exercise. During the follow-up period, walkers were 33% less likely to die and 21% less likely to need dialysis or a kidney transplant than nonwalkers. The more they walked, the more benefits they derived.
Patients who walked once or twice a week were 17% less likely to die during the study period than nonwalkers. Walking 3 to 4 times a week reduced the risk of dying by 28% and by 59% among those who walked at least 7 times a week.
Similarly, walking once or twice a week reduced the likelihood of needing dialysis or a kidney transplant by 19% compared with not walking. Taking a walk 3 or 4 times a week reduced the risk by 27% and by 44% among those who walked at least 7 times a week.
Investigators found that patients benefitted from walking regardless of their age, level of kidney function, and co-occurring illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
“Walking for exercise is associated with improved patient survival and a lower risk of dialysis,” study author Che-Yi Chou, MD, said in a statement. “A minimal amount of walking—just once a week for less than 30 minutes—appears to be beneficial, but more frequent and longer walking may provide a more beneficial effect.”