Should You Work Out While on the Kidney Transplant List? 

Should You Work Out While on the Kidney Transplant List

August 27, 2022

Being on the kidney transplant list can give you a new lease on life. No more long dialysis sessions and dizzy spells.

However, until you receive your new organ, you must remain as healthy as possible. This is why people wonder, should you work out while on the kidney transplant list?

Let’s examine what exercises you can do and how they benefit you.

Always Talk to Your Doctor First

Going through a kidney transplant is a major operation that'll put your body through a lot. In addition, it affects everyone a little differently.

Your exercise routine will change depending on your age and general health condition. So, before you attempt to work out, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional.

Ask them for a full workup and ensure your body can handle the extra effort. Skipping this step may lead to severe medical issues.

For this reason, talk to your doctor. It’s better safe than sorry.

Fitness Before and After Living Donor Transplant

As a kidney transplant patient, you learn to live a healthier lifestyle. You change the way you eat and hydrate to stay in tip-top shape.

Part of this switch-up involves your workout schedule. As you can imagine, your fitness regimen will change before and after the surgery.

Before Surgery

Before a transplant, you focus on getting your body as healthy as possible. That can include building up your strength and endurance.

To do that, you can follow a regular exercise routine with a bit of cardio and some aerobics. This is all to make the healing process more manageable.

The healthier your body is, the faster it’ll recover from surgery.

After Surgery

Right after surgery, your kidney is at the highest risk of injury. During this time, the organ is still adjusting to its new environment. Any vigorous movements can cause it to dislodge.

For this reason, you want to avoid heavy exercise for a couple of months. It can take up to eight weeks for your kidneys to settle.

Still, this doesn’t mean you have to lie in bed the whole time. A few minutes of light walking can help the recovery go faster.

Can Kidney Transplant Patients Go to Gym?


Before the surgery, you’re free to exercise as you please. If your doctor confirms your body can handle it, you should have no issues going to the gym.

However, after the surgery, the gym is not a good idea. Besides the risk of increased injury, it isn’t always sanitary. 

This can open patients up to infections that’ll complicate the healing process. Even after you recover, you want to start with moderate exercise.

Can Kidney Transplant Patients Do Push-Ups?

A standard push-up exercise will help you build strength in your chest and arms. The main motion includes moving your arms up and down.

This may lead you to believe you only use your upper body muscles. However, that’s not the case.

To pull off a push-up correctly, you need to use your abdominal muscles to support you. Doing so can affect the surgery incision.

So, push-ups are not an ideal workout after a kidney transplant surgery.

Top Four Reasons to Exercise Regularly When You Have a Transplant

Even though exercising may not be fun after surgery, it’s incredibly beneficial for you. A simple routine can have tremendous effects on your recovery. Here are the top four reasons to work out after a kidney transplant.

  1. Increase blood flow to speed up the healing process
  2. Build stronger muscles to support your new kidney
  3. Boost energy levels and mood
  4. Keep your weight under control

Make Sure to Stay Hydrated

When you work out, you’ll most likely sweat heavily. This reduces the overall amount of water in your system.

As you probably know, the kidneys are responsible for removing excess water. So, with the diminished quantity, your organs may not be able to function properly.

For this reason, you need to stay hydrated constantly. As you sweat out the water, you should replace it.

You may drink one or two extra cups of water when exercising.

Find a Routine That Keeps You Motivated

A consistent workout routine is key to general wellness and a healthy body. Your body needs constant exercise to stay healthy.

This can get old very quickly. So, to get around this issue, you should tailor your workout to your preferences.

Find simple exercises or stretches that you don’t mind doing daily. In addition, the routine doesn’t have to be the same every day, as long as you get your body moving.

If you’re outdoorsy, you can include a short 10-minute walk in your routine. 

Set Reasonable Goals and Work Towards Them

Remember, it will take months for your body to return to its normal state after surgery. For this reason, you should have reasonable goals.

Unfortunately, this means running a marathon is off the table. Still, there are many other workouts you can try. Start small and gradually work your way up.

It’s also a good idea to consult your doctor when it comes to what goals you can set. They’ll be able to give you a clear picture of what you can handle.

What Is the Best Diet After a Transplant?

A workout routine is excellent, but it won’t do much good without the proper diet. After a transplant, you’re eating habits will need to change.

A typical meal plan will involve plenty of fruits and vegetables, grains, low salt, and high fiber. Together, these can provide your body with what it needs to heal.

In addition, you’ll want to cut down on saturated fats to help maintain your weight. Talk to a nutritionist to help you figure out the right balance of the food groups.

Final Thoughts:

Should you work out while on the kidney transplant list? The answer to that question is yes. You should have no problems working out if your body is healthy enough.

Still, after surgery, your routine will have to change. Avoid any strenuous exercise that may cause the wound to reopen.

It’s also important to note that you must adjust your eating and hydration habits. Finally, before you make any decision, it’s always best to consult your doctor.

About the author 

Kevin Lee

Health and fitness have always been a passion for me; whether its being in the weight room, going for a run before work or even participating in a half iron man triathlon. ShapeJunkie was created to share to knowledge and love of fitness with others.

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