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Exercise and Liver Disease part 2 - Some of the Benefits of Exercise
Melissa Palmer, MD posted:
The benefits of exercising are numerous. First, exercise gives people a general sense of
well-being and an improved self-image. It is a known fact that if a person feels well
mentally, her immune system will be stronger and give her that extra edge needed in the
fight against disease.
Second, as previously discussed, exercising gives a person a boost of energy. Fatigue
is probably the most common as well as one of the most bothersome symptoms that
plagues people with liver disease. Many people with liver disease frequently feel like
they don't have enough energy to make it across the room, let alone around the block.
However, the best way to fight this seemingly relentless exhaustion is to exercise. Yes,
the notion of exercising when you are fatigued may seem counterintuitive- like a vicious
cycle, but most people find that it actually works. In part, fatigue may have to do with the
fact that both the heart and the liver are working overtime to keep a good supply of
filtered blood circulating throughout the body. Adding a regular exercise routine enables
both organs to work more efficiently. Over time, this will boost energy levels. While most
people find it tough going at first, they eventually realize that the benefits make it well
worth it.
Third, exercise improves cardiovascular function. As the body gets stronger and more
aerobically fit, the cardiovascular system will be able to work more efficiently. Less
effort will be required of the heart to pump blood to the liver and other body organs. Less
effort on the heart equals stronger cardiovascular function and an increased overall
energy level for a person with liver disease. It is extremely important to attempt to do
some exercise while on interferon treatment, as this will decrease the fatigue, irritability,
and depression often associated with this medication.
Fourth, exercise results in a reduction of total body fat. While nearly everyone knows
that being overweight places a great deal of stress on the heart, most people don't realize
that it also makes it harder for the liver to do its job. When total body fat is reduced, fat
content in the liver is simultaneously reduced. This often results in a significant reduction
of elevated liver enzymes, no matter what the underlying liver disorder is. Eating right
and getting plenty of exercise is undoubtedly the slowest way to lose weight known to
humanity, but it's also the safest and surest. This is especially true for people with liver
disease. Even intermittent exercise has been shown to be beneficial in obese women.
Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is also the best way to keep from
regaining the weight.
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