Helping you live a better life on dialysis

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Robert Minton

Tennessee dialysis patient Robert Minton gets up early to take spin classes, swim and lift weights at his local YMCA. He’s also enjoys outdoor recreation.

Age 55 - Bristol, Tennessee

YMCA Classes and Weight Lifting Help this Tennessee Patient Stay Fit

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:15 a.m., while most of his Bristol, Tenn., neighbors are still asleep, you’re likely to find Robert Minton on a stationary bicycle at his local YMCA fitness center, sweating through an early morning spinning class. After class, the self-described “gym rat” lifts weights, then finishes his workout by swimming 17 laps.

On Saturdays he follows a similar routine, but starts a little later, around 9:00 a.m. And on Sundays he will occasionally swim before heading to the center’s sauna and steam rooms to relax. On other days, the 55-year-old retired Army veteran takes to the trails and rivers in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains to bicycle and kayak with friends.

If you didn’t know him, you would not imagine that he also finds time in his busy schedule for dialysis treatments several times a week. These life-sustaining treatments replace the blood-filtering function of his kidneys, which were damaged in a military accident more than two decades ago.

Robert has had two kidney transplants. The first lasted 12 years, while a second lasted five years before failing in 2010. Today, he’s back on the transplant waiting list. And while he waits, he’s following a healthier, more kidney-friendly diet by limiting his intake of foods that are high in sodium, potassium and phosphorus.

Meanwhile, he just feels better – both physically and mentally – by simply staying fit. “Exercise helps you feel normal,” he says, “and that makes dialysis easier.”