Give It a Spin | How Biking Benefits Altru’s Renal Dialysis Patients

Biking during DialysisOne in three American adults is at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), and approximately 26 million Americans are unaware they have this condition. Research shows obese individuals (or nearly 35 percent of American adults) are at a 23 percent increased risk of developing CKD, and four out of five do not meet the national guidelines for physical activity and exercise.

Altru’s Renal Dialysis and Medical Fitness Center have recently partnered to create Biking during Dialysis. The new program, which launched in early 2016, allows patients to bike on an indoor pedal device while receiving dialysis treatment. Patients who exercise while receiving dialysis can achieve favorable outcomes in the management of dialysis treatment, as well as improve strength, endurance, mood and well-being.

Julie Nelson, Renal Dialysis manager, explains, “The program allows select patients to get some exercise during the time they spend in the treatment chair, which typically will run three to four hours. We hope to see patients gain strength and endurance, which will ultimately have a positive impact on their quality of life.”

Douglas Berntson, a renal dialysis patient, has noticed positive changes since starting the program. “Ever since I began dialysis, I have been getting out of shape. With the bike program, I can get back into shape. I don’t get as tired during the day and can walk a bit longer without having to take as many breaks.”

Shawn Reich, medical fitness specialist, sets up individualized exercise programs for new patients. During dialysis, nurses record data for each patient. At three months, Shawn analyzes progress and makes adjustments as needed.

“Since rolling out the program, participants have collectively pedaled 93 miles, which is equal to traveling from Grand Forks to Devils Lake,” shares Shawn. “Recently, the program expanded to Altru Clinic in Roseau, with more growth in the near future.”

With the high rate of obesity today and its influence on the development of other health issues, such as CKD, Biking during Dialysis  is another way Altru is improving health and enriching life within our community.

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