Hemodialysis patients typically have extremely low physical activity levels, which contributes to poor physical function and quality of life (QOL). Numerous studies show that exercise, intradialytic cycling in particular, may improve physical and cardiovascular function and QOL. But there are also significant inconsistencies in the literature, and the benefits in many studies are modest. This may be due in part to methodological limitations in intradialytic cycling trials, including small sample sizes, short interventions, low volume, and intensity of exercise prescriptions, and/or low retention and protocol adherence rates. The goal of this review is twofold. First, we summarize the current literature on intradialytic cycling in HD patients, highlighting benefits and concerns noted in several recently published trials that were among the most robust and clinically relevant trials conducted to date. Second, we will consider strategies for moving forward with exercise and physical activity interventions in HD, including promoting intradialytic cycling as a core component of a more patient-centric and comprehensive strategy that helps progress patients towards standard physical activity guidelines. We urge researchers and exercise professionals to consider intradialytic cycling as a valuable component of a comprehensive patient-centered, lifestyle intervention, as opposed to a stand-alone exercise prescription.
- physical activity