Lifestyle changes for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

You’ll need to make lifestyle changes when you have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). It takes effort and patience, but these changes help you feel better, stay healthy, and slow kidney damage.

Lifestyle changes include diet and exercise. But you don’t have to do it alone — your care team can help you create a plan.

Dietary changes

A large part of staying healthy involves a kidney-healthy diet. If you have kidney disease, your kidneys can’t properly filter out waste. They also can’t get rid of excess fluid and keep the right levels of nutrients.

A kidney-healthy diet includes less red meat, fewer full-fat products, and fewer processed foods that are high in minerals like potassium. You may choose a plant-based diet or another popular plan, such as the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet.

Whichever you choose, you’ll work with a dietician who can help you select healthy, satisfying foods. Your dietician can answer any questions about meal planning, grocery shopping, and dining out.


It’s important to adopt a regular exercise routine. Exercise improves your strength and energy levels. Other benefits include:

  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Getting better sleep
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Improving muscle tone
  • Keeping a healthy weight

Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. It’s a good idea to include both aerobic and strength training. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling, increase your heart rate, leading to better stamina and heart health.

Strength training helps improve muscle function, prevent loss of muscle mass, and increase endurance.

Remember to start slowly. If you can, exercise at least 3 times each week. More is better, if you feel up to it. Don’t push yourself. Slow down if you can’t catch your breath or if you start to feel uncomfortable.

Alcohol and smoking

You know that too much alcohol is bad for you. You’ve also heard about the dangers of smoking. It’s important that you quit smoking and limit or cut out alcohol. Both make your kidneys work harder.