Helping you live a better life on dialysis

Print Page

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews lost the ability to walk during a severe illness. But after months of therapy and exercise, he's back on his feet and feeling better than ever.


Regular Workouts Help Ohio Patient Relearn How to Walk

Michael Matthews has always tried to stay physically active. But he’s come to appreciate the benefits of regular exercise even more since going on dialysis nine years ago, after his high blood pressure led to kidney failure.

The 50-year-old Cleveland resident, who used to work at a daycare center, got very sick a couple of years ago with a blood infection, which was followed by an infection in his vertebral discs and required surgical intervention. The illness made his kidney problems worse, which affected his ability to walk and, ultimately, left him confined to a wheelchair. But Michael committed himself to months of rehabilitation therapy to relearn how to walk. And to regain his strength, he started a program of regular exercise.

Today, Michael works out six days a week and is happy to once again be walking without even a cane. He lifts weights, swims, uses an elliptical trainer and participates in Zumba exercise classes. During the summer, he rides a bicycle to and from his dialysis treatments – a five-mile round trip. He’s also improved his diet, which helped him lose weight.

Michael relies on exercise to maintain his health, and to offset the effects of dialysis. “It gives you something to occupy your mind other than being on dialysis,” he says. “After sitting in the dialysis chair for treatments, it helps to get your body circulating and your muscles working again.”

Exercise, he adds, “helped me come back from that illness. … It brought me back a long way from where I was.”