Age 61 - Chesapeake, Virginia
Daily Walks and a New Diet Help Keep Virginia Dialysis Patient in Top Shape
Johnny Jones knows every inch of the 600-foot-long driveway leading up to his home in Chesapeake, Va. The retired U.S. Navy veteran, 61, tries to exercise at least two and a half hours every day. And on many days, he gets that exercise by alternating between walking and running up and down the driveway that accesses his five-acre property. He uses a pedometer to measure the distance until he’s completed at least four miles, and is a great example of someone who doesn’t require a health club to stay fit.
Johnny, who retired from the Navy in 1998 after 27 years of active duty, has been on dialysis for the past four years, since the autoimmune disease lupus caused his kidneys to fail. He could have felt sorry for himself and allowed his health to decline. But instead, he began an ambitious exercise program intended to improve his quality of life.
“Exercise is the key if you want to feel good,” Johnny says. “It’s what you need to do to build up stamina.” He occasionally alternates his driveway workouts with biking, swimming, playing golf or going fishing.
The best health plan combines regular exercise with a sensible diet. Johnny not only has more energy these days, but his blood protein levels have risen since he switched to a kidney-friendly diet that includes lots of high-protein foods, along with fruits and vegetables, and excludes foods high in salt, potassium and phosphorus.
Thanks to his exercise and diet, Johnny is feeling really good these days. In fact, he says, “I’m healthier now than I was before dialysis.”