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Fitness first in 2019!

Take control of your kidney health with simple daily workouts

Exercise is important for everyone, especially those with kidney disease. Regular exercise can help control blood pressure and may help slow your kidney disease down. At the same time, exercise can help you feel better and more in control. But, starting an exercise program can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! The key is to make a plan, start slow, steadily increase your workouts and always check in with your doctor to make sure your program is right for you.

Be a healthier you this year – make an exercise plan today! Here are some sample workouts to consider adding to your program.

1. Walk and talk. Walking out in the fresh air is good for your mental and physical health. Want some company? You can also use this as a chance to meet up with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Catching up while exercising will leave you feeling refreshed and better prepared to take on the day and the challenges it may bring. Not excited about bundling up in the winter and heading outside? Head to the mall, go to the gym or walk on the treadmill. Put some headphones on, listen to a podcast and start walking. As you get more fit, adjust your pace. If you are on a treadmill, change the ramp settings to add resistance.

2. Yoga at home. One of the best parts of yoga is the fact that it can be done virtually anywhere. You don’t need to enroll in a class and you don’t even need a yoga mat. Simply spread a towel out on your living room floor, find a beginner yoga video on YouTube and start learning the poses. Finding the workout too difficult? Not comfortable on the floor? Try yoga on softer grounds like grass in a park or sand on a beach. Also, you can search for a video that suits you. Chair yoga, for example, is a popular variation of yoga where the exerciser does poses while sitting in a chair, or standing up and using a chair for support. Start with just 10 minutes a day and build up to 30 minutes. The combination of breathing and stretching makes yoga a worthwhile practice for emotional and physical health.

3. Pool time. Water aerobics or swimming is a great way to get fit. It helps tone muscles and leaves you feeling refreshed and re-energized. Check your local pool for classes. With the music pumping and a group of others beside you, the time will fly by! Or, just go and swim some laps. Either way, you will get a great workout that is bound to be easier on your joints.

Remember to speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor should be able to suggest some simple exercises right for you—even for 15 minutes a day—that can make a big difference in how you feel and improve your kidney health at the same time. Let us know how your exercise program is going—share your experiences with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Have some exercise Pinterest boards you like to follow? We are on Pinterest, too, and would love to hear about them!

Five tips for kidney patients this holiday season

If you have kidney disease, you’ve likely changed your diet to keep healthy. Following the kidney diet can be tough anytime of the year but especially challenging during the holidays, when parties and events, complete with platters of tempting, non-kidney-friendly food, are ever present. Don’t let this keep you away from enjoying fun times with your loved ones this holiday season! Here are five tips for surviving holiday parties and gatherings while sticking to the kidney-healthy diet:

1. Eat beforehand. Don’t show up to a party with an empty stomach. It’s so much harder to stick to your diet when your stomach is rumbling! Eating beforehand will help you avoid temptation and give you more time to focus on why you’re really there—to enjoy good company during the holidays.

2. Offer to bring a kidney-friendly dish. Yes, this means you’re not off the hook for cooking, but it also means you’re guaranteed to have something kidney-friendly to munch on wherever you go. Plus, you’ll be able to introduce other party-goers to a low-salt, kidney-healthy meal, something that’s good for just about everybody! Check out our kidney-friendly recipes if you’re looking for a dish to make.

3. Avoid processed foods, including processed meats. Processed food equals high salt, a definite no. Steer clear of these items; choose low-sodium proteins and fresh foods instead.

4. Control your portions. Have your eye on some tasty treats but know they aren’t particularly kidney-friendly? Have just a taste to satisfy your craving, then use your willpower to move on.

5. Plan an active gathering. If you’re hosting, plan an activity instead of centering the party around food. Going for a walk or a short hike, will take the focus off food and get those endorphins going, leaving everyone feeling good about getting some exercise during the long winter months. Playing board games and family sports is also a nice way to spend quality time and make memories not centered on eating.

You don’t have to avoid holiday parties just because there may be foods you can’t eat. Follow the tips above and you’ll be setting yourself up for a great time with family and friends!

The road to transplant: Armando’s journey

Armando’s early days of dialysis.

In 2007, 17-year-old Armando Gonzalez Valadez was tired, didn’t have much energy and always felt sick.

Soon after, Armando was diagnosed with kidney failure and started dialysis in the Mount Vernon area. After about six months, he moved to Lynnwood and became a Puget Sound Kidney Centers patient in Mountlake Terrace. His idol, Superman, was proudly displayed on t-shirts he wore to treatment.

Armando’s determination and strong will was evident with him working two— sometimes three—jobs to make ends meet. In 2011, Armando began doing home dialysis treatments five nights per week, which allowed him the ability to juggle work during the day. He also began helping the Mountlake Terrace social workers run a monthly support group that provides education to only Spanish-speaking patients.

Armando after his kidney transplant.

Not content at just working and living in this country, Armando was passionate about becoming a U.S. citizen. All his hard work and determination paid off in March of 2014 when he finally obtained his citizenship. Then, on December 27 of the same year, he received “the call.” It was his turn for a transplant.

The operation was successful and Armando received what he describes as “The best Christmas present, ever!”

For Armando, life after transplant has only gotten better. Recently, he was promoted to manager of Interstate Batteries, a company that celebrates his transplant anniversary every year with a cake. He has also just purchased his first home and got married.

Armando has shown that not only can Superman “jump tall buildings in a single bound,” he can beat kidney failure too. Like Armando says, “You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”

Interested in learning more about kidney transplant? Read more about this treatment option here.