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Leonard D'Ostuni

By riding a stationary bicycle during his thrice-weekly dialysis treatments, this ambitious octogenarian has gained endurance, strength and independence.

Age 88 - Cranston, Rhode Island

Exercise During Dialysis Pays Dividends for Rhode Island Patient

Leonard D’Ostuni was 86 when he started dialysis – older than most new patients. But that didn’t keep the Rhode Island retiree from making the most of his three-times-weekly treatment sessions after his diabetes led to kidney failure.

While most patients are content to read or relax during dialysis, Leonard bought a stationary bicycle and, with his nephrologist’s approval, began exercising during his treatments. Today, at 88, he pedals for at least two hours each session, while being monitored by the dialysis clinic’s staff.

The exercise was tiring at first, and some of his fellow patients wondered why he did it. But after two years, his efforts are paying off in increased endurance, leg strength and independence.

“Leonard’s condition has vastly improved since he began exercising,” says Anne Teja, R.N., clinical manager of the Fresenius Medical Care Warwick facility. Before he started the regular cycling workouts, he couldn’t drive and he needed an aide to help with his daily routine. Now, she says, “he’s cooking, exercising and driving himself to treatments.”

His inspiration for exercising during dialysis came from a research paper that he discovered on the Internet. After studying the potential risks and rewards, the paper’s authors concluded that physical activity actually enhances the dialysis process by allowing toxins to be removed from patients’ blood and muscles simultaneously. 

Leonard is hoping that by doing this, he will be an inspiration and help motivate younger patients. “I know I’ve only been on dialysis for a short period of time, but my goal is to get as much quality of life as possible,” he says. “So far I’ve been really happy, and it’s a tribute to the doctors and people who take care of me.”