Journal of Nephrology

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 729–741 | Cite as

Barriers to exercise for patients with renal disease: an integrative review

  • Mary Hannan
  • Ulf G. Bronas


Renal disease is a common health condition that leads to loss of physical function, frailty, and premature loss of independence in addition to other severe comorbidities and increased mortality. Increased levels of physical activity and initiation of exercise training is recommended in the current guidelines for all patients with renal disease, but participation and adherence rates are low. The barriers to exercise and physical activity in patients with renal disease are not well defined and currently based on patient provider perception and opinion. There have been no published reviews that have synthesized published findings on patient reported barriers to exercise. This integrative literature review therefore aimed to identify the current understanding of patient reported barriers to regular exercise. This integrative review found that patient perceived barriers to exercise are not consistent with the barriers that have been identified by renal disease specialists and healthcare providers, which were disinterest, lack of motivation, and being incapable of exercise. The patient reported barriers identified through this review were complex and diverse, and the most frequently reported patient perceived barrier to exercise was low energy levels and fatigue. It is clear that additional research to identify patient perceived barriers to exercise is needed and that patient directed interventions to address these barriers should be developed. This integrative review provides information to the interdisciplinary nephrology team that can be used to tailor their assessment of barriers to exercise and provide exercise education for patients with renal disease.


Renal disease Chronic kidney disease Exercise Barriers 



Portions of this manuscript are to be presented at the Sigma Theta Tau International's 28th International Nursing Research Congress, July 2017.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Nephrology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biobehavioral Health Science (M/C 802), College of NursingUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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