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Walking can Protect Kidney Patients’ Health

Update Date: May 16, 2014 03:34 PM EDT

Several studies have reported that even a little bit of exercise can be beneficial for certain people. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of walking for kidney patients. They found that routinely walking could reduce patients' risk of death or disability.

"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," study co-author Dr. Che-Yi Chou, of China Medical University Hospital in Taichung, said reported by WebMD.

For this study, Chou and his team monitored the health outcomes of 6,363 people from Taiwan with an average age of 70. The patients were a part of the CKD (chronic kidney disease) program of China Medical University between June 2003 and May 2013.The participants were all diagnosed with stages three to five CKD and were tracked for an average of 1.3 years. 21 percent of the patients had reported walking as their most common form of exercise. The researchers found that when patients walked more, their risks of death, dialysis and kidney transplant all fell.

The team calculated that when people walked one to two times a week, their risk of death fell by 17 percent in comparison to non-walkers. When patients increased their walking to seven times a week, their risk of death fell even more by 59 percent. When the team looked at patients' risk of dialysis or kidney transplant, they found that patients who walked 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and seven times per week had a 19 percent, 27 percent, 43 percent and 44 percent reduced risk respectively.

"Walking for exercise is associated with improved patient survival and a lower risk of dialysis," Chou said.

The researchers noted that the patients who were walkers were not necessarily healthier than patients who were not walkers. Patients from both groups had the same risk of developing other health complications, such as heart disease and diabetes.

The study, "Association of Walking with Survival and Renal Replacement Therapy among Patients with CKD Stages 3-5," was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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