The people who come every day to Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa for dialysis treatments have stopped watching the clock slowly tick through time. They’re too busy stretching and exercising with an in-house Pilates instructor showing them workout moves.

The hospital recently inaugurated this unique project that pairs dialysis patients with workout instructors,consequently making it the most unlikely place for a Pilates session.

Numerous health reports show that exercise helps kidney disease patients physically and emotionally, and even enhances the treatment. Inactive patients often end up with secondary disabilities and need a cane or wheelchair to get around.

“The project is meant to run for a few months,” says Dr. Guy Millo, attending physician at the department of nephrology and hypertension. “The purpose is to capitalize on the long hours that the treatment takes with physical exercise that can improve the patient’s physical and emotional state.”

Instead of rolling a mat out on the floor, patients are hooked up to the dialysis machine with one hand and given resistance bands for their other. The Pilates workout also includes proper breathing exercises and ball exercises.

Organizers of the new project at Rambam explain that it is set up for each dialysis patient individually and according to her or his health needs.