Saturday, May 14, 2022

My Ambitious but Realistic Exercise Goals for Dialysis

By Derek Benoit, January 30th, 2022

ALWAYS consult your physician, specialist, or appropriate exercise professional before beginning ANY exercise or treatment plan. This content is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. By accessing this content, you agree to hold harmless and Benoit Outdoor Media LLC for any injury, death, or damage to private property that results from performing any exercise, therapeutic exercise, or in receiving medical treatment.

I would love to say this is me, but sadly, no. Photo courtesy of

My exercise goals for dialysis are moving up the ladder. With productive changes in my dry weight goal, and changes to blood pressure meds, treatments are merciful. With less severe fluid pulls, and milder BP medication doses, dialysis no longer seems to beat me up. I have more energy and experience fewer problems during treatment. Doors are opening!

Exercise Was Impossible at the Start of Dialysis

When dialysis began, I was hoping to have enough energy to get a few sits in this coming spring and fall. Surfcasting would be limited mostly to bait-and-wait with few if any explorations of the beach with plugs. Freshwater was going to see the bulk of my outings. Moreover, I was watching my strength for all of these things melt away.

Recent Benefits to Dialysis Treatment Changes

Less intense treatment sessions have allowed me to actually shovel following this lovely Blizzard of ’22. I tested myself with two brief trips to clear the front steps and walk. Such is NOT a big challenge other than it was me doing it. One clearing session in the afternoon and another at about 8pm left me thrilled. Essentially, I found out that I had more zip than I anticipated! Everything went smoothly.

Outside of a bit of soreness from the prior night, I decided to push it a bit more. I made an early morning bushwhacking trip to clear an easy path to the garage doors and snow blower. While light and fluffy in descent, the snow was surprisingly packed by the strong winds. This made for a bit more a challenge than expected! The solution was to ease back on the pace a bit. Aside from a break to save my fingers from stage 1 of frost bite, I was happy with the 20 or so minute session. Finally, I was able to get out and do some clearing of the vehicles and pushing around the remnants so time with the snow blower would be minimized.

Hunting and Fishing Conditioning Goals

In my mind, this was a smashing success. The trick now is to keep up momentum and improvement, but not push the progress too hard. Dialysis will always bring the risk of complications and be an energy suck, to some degree. Below are my ambitious yet tempered goals for strength and cardio. These are in addition to archery practice, minor fishing excursions, and a plethora of must-do’s that just didn’t during the struggles with recent dialysis treatments. It’s A LOT to accomplish, but it’s possible!

Cardio Methods and Duration

  • Goal of 5 sessions per week (not likely to achieve consistently)
  • Mix of treadmill, stair work, and later, hiking
  • Sessions will be limited to 20-30 minutes with VERY cautious eventual increases
  • Stairs will be the test, done in interval style blocks – we’re not talking huge effort here
  • Treadmill sessions will be target heart rate-oriented and decidedly easy

Strength Considerations and Methods

  • I purchased a variety of “weight” resistance bands and will focus on archery 1st, full body 2nd
  • Very light resistance to start, with high reps
  • gradual increases to eventually challenge legs and core
  • bands vary from 10lbs to 100lbs
  • Will need to research full body workouts for bands

Eaaaaaaaasy Duzit Good

If anything, I expect my progress with both cardio and strength gains to be slower than they could be. I’m not looking to set record here. After all, I have at least one addition surgery coming, which means I’ll have to start the strength over again after a period of recovery.

While I have a Bowflex, and will get back to using it, I’m looking for simplicity and finer changes in resistance levels. Specifically, I’m looking to take better care of my shoulders and rotator cuffs. Baby steps!

Here is just one source I’m using to research resistance band routines:

A Healthy Reality Check

Unfortunately, my dreams of getting out west to hunt are simply not going to happen this fall. I need to be reasonable and recognize that it makes little sense to push for trips better served for more experience AND more archery skill at longer distances. Turkey and white tails it shall be! Additionally, I would love to take on offshore beasts like tuna and marlin. This is going to have to wait for at least a year. However, when I do get out there, I intend to have ZERO issues with strength or conditioning!

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