What’s in this article
- How exercise benefits liver health
- Types of exercise
How exercise benefits liver health
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the best ways to not only maintain a healthy liver but a healthy weight and immune system. According to Live Strong, exercise helps liver disease in a few ways. First, it helps you control your weight by burning of excess fat, which can prevent obesity. Exercise can also help increase levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which in turn lowers your triglyceride levels and “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Exercise also helps prevent and control other diseases associated with fatty liver disease, such as type 2 diabetes.
Types of exercise
- Weight training strengthens your bones, this is particularly beneficial as liver disease can cause osteoporosis especially in women.
- Yoga can be less stress on the body and encourages blood flow and strengthens bones and muscles.
- Aerobic exercise such as cycling, running or walking vigorously outside is great for your cardiovascular system and has an effect on blood oxygenation, aerobic exercise increases your heart rate and increases the amount of oxygen that goes to your organs including the liver.
Liver disease can often cause fatigue, so it is important to factor this in when setting targets and goals for yourself. Do not push yourself too hard and introduce exercise gradually. Dr. Melissa Palmer, author and practicing hepatologist, recommends exercising three times a week to start off with, and aim for 30-45 minutes, anything more is a plus. Talk to your doctor or physician about how often would suit you and remember to start small and work your way up to more as doing too much too soon can cause injury.
One week of exercise will not show you any physical results, it is important to remember that you will need to factor in exercise as part of your weekly routine from now on. You will notice positive mental and physical improvements as time goes on and exercise should become easier for you. Remember that being healthy is not a destination, it is an ongoing journey and your lifestyle changes should be permanent.
How to get motivated
Getting motivated can be hard, especially if you are not used to exercising. Try these tips for getting motivated:
- Monitor your mood – Write down how you feel after you work out, equally write down how you feel when you skip a workout. We know which one will make you feel better.
- Wear your workout clothes – This should drive you to want to work out. Nobody wants to take their work out clothes off without having exercised.
- Keep your eyes on the prize – Remember the reason why you are exercising, whether it’s to lose weight, get fit or improve your mood.
- Join a group – Joining an exercise group means you will have plenty of other people who are motivated and who will keep you motivated too.
- Commit to a class – If you pay for a class then you have the added incentive to go. Losing money and not working out is much worse than just skipping the workout!
Exercising on a budget
You definitely do not need a fancy gym membership to start exercising. Running and brisk walking are easy ways to get started, some parks and beaches also have workout equipment installed for a free work out. There are plenty of videos on YouTube which are free to watch and can provide endless options for a good work out in the comfort of your own home. There may also be classes in your area that only require a donation, check local Facebook pages and notice boards for more information.
Ensure that you stay hydrated while exercising or doing sports, hydration is a vital component of liver health. When we work out we sweat more which can lead to dehydration if we are not drinking enough fluids. This can cause many problems for the body. If you struggle to stay hydrated, sign up for our Kitchen Companion for seven tips on staying hydrated.
Try this delicious Pineapple Cucumber Salad, the perfect addition to a liver healthy diet