Importance of Exercise

Research has shown that organ transplant recipients who exercise regularly have
higher quality of life and greater physical fitness.

Research has shown that organ transplant recipients who exercise regularly have a much higher quality of life and greater physical fitness.

Most organ transplant candidates present in a very physically deconditioned state, with a loss in muscle mass and strength as well as a general loss in stamina and endurance.  This negatively impacts their ability to participate in day-to-day activities and hinders recovery and ultimately, their quality of life.

With most organ transplant recipients being physically inactive at the time of their transplant, they gradually become inactive over the course of their organ failure prior to transplant.

Often, due to a lack of recommendations encouraging increased physical activity, a recipient who has undergone a successful organ transplant will not necessarily increase their physical activity instinctively, despite feeling better.

Exercise & Move Regularly

The only way to meaningfully increase muscle strength and overall endurance is to exercise and move more regularly. Following a successful transplant, the adoption of a program to regain strength and endurance should be gradual, and consistent with clear and achievable goals from the outset.

Healthy Balanced Lifestyle

The immunosuppression medications required after organ transplant place recipients at higher risk for developing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.  Thus, the need for adoption of a healthy balanced lifestyle that includes regular exercise is even more important than for the general public.

Promote Physical Activity

Research on active exercise in organ transplant recipients has shown that there is no reason to believe that recommendations for exercise, as well as the benefits gained in the non-transplanted population, would be any different in organ transplant recipients.

It is possible that because of the lasting consequences of the initial organ failure, resulting in transplantation, it is possible that some of the benefits of regular physical activity may be diminished, however, it is vitally important that medical professionals actively promote physical activity and the benefits that it clearly demonstrates.

Gradual Progression in Exercise

It is, however, clear that adoption of a program of regular exercise that is gradually progressed in intensity and individually tailored will not harm the function of the transplanted organ, and participants will increase strength, endurance and have an improved quality of life and overall functioning.  This has been demonstrated in several small studies of recipients of all organ transplant and has certainly been demonstrated in participation in sports and regular exercise by a wide variety of transplant recipients in the World Transplant Games and National Transplant Games across the globe.

The Refit Toolkit aims to assist medical professionals in guiding their patients to take those initial steps and partake in a rehabilitation program to help them start their journey to recovery and a better quality of life.

Register for free to gain access to the Refit for Life! Program designed to help you move right, think right and eat right.