Getting Fit After My Renal Transplant
I followed this advice and it was the best thing that I ever did to help me through the recovery of my kidney transplant.
The doctors told me that if I was able to get involved in and fitness exercises that it would help my recovery but that it would also enhance my cardiovascular fitness.
Achieving a new level of fitness was a challenge for me because there were years of physical reconditioning and my physical state had a significant effect on my emotional state. Prior to the surgery it was hard to imagine that I would ever be motivated enough to actually improve my fitness through exercise.
Although the doctors were giving me advice to work out after the surgery, I was also warned that there might be some impediments to my success with a program of fitness and sports activities following my transplant.
I had been on long-term dialysis which affected the way my body was able to metabolize minerals and I was at risk of renal osteodystrophy, which meant that bone fractures were a significant risk with any exercise program.
Because of these medications, I always had muscle and joint pain before the renal transplant. Moving around was always a challenge, particularly when I tried to sit down or get back up, so I was concerned that this pain might be a problem when I tried to exercise after my surgery.
The first full day after my surgery, I was able to walk in the hospital room with the nurse to relieve some pressure that had built up. This was my first “exercise” and I found that there was very little pain from the surgery. I walked even more the day after that, and every day I was able to walk a little more and a week after the surgery I was able to use the stairs.
This was something that I had always avoided prior to the surgery because of the pain it caused. After I was discharged to my home, I began to walk every day, and after about a month, I increased my activity level a little bit more each week until I was able to run again.
I started to become active enough that my doctor recommended a three-phase approach to my workout sessions. I first begin with a warm-up routine that includes some stretching, then I get into my “conditioning phase” and then a cool down.
These days, my conditioning phase includes different things on different days, but I can now jog almost daily, and sometimes I will run a 5k to increase the intensity. On other days I’ll use a weight machine and work on my muscle building exercises.
The first few months I found it very helpful to keep a workout record, and now I try to exercise in some way every day without fail. I am so glad that I started my exercise program as soon as I was able to after surgery.