Maintaining your liver health is essential to prevent any liver disorder. Healthy nutrition, including adequate consumption of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, is necessary for keeping your liver healthy. But apart from nutrition, physical activity is equally vital to reduce the risk of many liver diseases.
How Does Physical Activity Affect Liver Health?
Liver health can be negatively affected by many factors amongst which the most common is obesity. As a result of unhealthy fat consumption, liver tissue is damaged and inflamed because of the accumulation of fat molecules in the liver cells.
Luckily, exercise has been proven to be effective in losing weight and keeping your liver healthy. The more you exercise, the less obese you will be, and the more healthy your liver is (1).
Remaining physically active also strengthens your cardiovascular system and improves the flow of oxygenated blood. When you exercise, the large muscles of your body start working, your breathing pattern and heart rate increase, and oxygen transportation to your liver is increased (2).
What Does The Research Say?
Many research studies have been conducted to validate the effects of physical activity on improving healthy liver function. One study reported that acute exercise for a prolonged period stimulated the production of some proteins, promoted hepatic glycogenolysis, and reduced hepatic blood flow. Physical activity also improved blood glucose control and resistance to oxidative stress (3).
Many studies have also shown a reduction in the risk of fatty liver disease by physical exercise. Physical activity reduces fatty liver disease through different pathways. Reduced hepatocellular and mitochondrial damage, decreased fatty acid synthesis, and increased fatty acid oxidation improves fatty liver disease with regular exercise (4).
In another study, exercise improved blood glucose levels and liver enzymes in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (5).
Types Of Exercise That Can Enhance The Liver Function:
You can reboot your liver health by choosing different types of exercises. The best results for your liver can be achieved with 45-minute resistance training and aerobic exercise. Some studies have reported that exercise can also reduce bad cholesterol levels, which is also beneficial for the liver.
Different types of exercises include:
- Brisk walking
- Running or jogging
- Using weighted machines
- Using free weights like dumbbells.
- Pälve KS, Pahkala K, Suomela E, Aatola H, Hulkkonen J, Juonala M, et al. Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Risk of Fatty Liver: The Young Finns Study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Sep 1;49(9):1834–41.
- The Effect of Exercise on Liver Function [Internet]. LIVESTRONG.COM. [cited 2021 Jul 23]. Available from: https://www.livestrong.com/article/287774-the-effect-of-exercise-on-liver-function/
- Shephard R, Johnson N. Effects of physical activity upon the liver. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Nov 4;115.
- van der Windt DJ, Sud V, Zhang H, Tsung A, Huang H. The Effects of Physical Exercise on Fatty Liver Disease. Gene Expr. 2018 May 18;18(2):89–101.
- Li J, Wang F, Chen K, Xia Y, Lu J, Zhou Y, et al. Effects of Physical Activity on Liver Function in Patients with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-Analysis. SOJ Immunol [Internet]. 2015 Dec 5 [cited 2021 Jul 23];3(5). Available from: https://symbiosisonlinepublishing.com/immunology/immunology43.php