What’s the best exercise for a fatty liver condition? Is it five aerobic sessions per week? Weights? HIIT (high intensity interval training)?
Surprisingly, it’s something most of us do every single day – walk. Researchers from Tulane University concluded in their study, “Moderate and vigorous exercise have comparable effects on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” that more intensive forms of exercise were only approximately as effective as brisk walking.
Get Up and Go
We’ve all been told for decades that walking can be heart-healthy, provides mild aerobic effects and is a healthy addition to anyone’s lifestyle.
But more than that, the Tulane study shows that walking can be as effective as at least one form of heavy-duty exercise – jogging – which is good news for those on restricted intensity exercise programs, or who simply can’t get to the gym or the running track.
The study seems to indicate that walking is better than for simply giving us that “get up and go” or stimulating the heart healthfully; it can actually help to offset an NAFLD condition.
How the Study Was Performed
To obtain these conclusions, Tulane researchers studied 220 individuals split into three groups: joggers, brisk walkers and non-exercisers. Specific parameters were given to each group (for instance, the “vigorous-moderate” jogger group jogged 150 minutes per week at 65-80% of their maximum heart rate).
To determine how effective each form of exercise (or no exercise at all) was on an NAFLD condition, intrahepatic triglyceride levels were measured.
The result was that the walkers were approximately as healthy, per intrahepatic triglycerides, as the joggers.
Starting a Walking Regimen
If you’re beginning from a very sedentary lifestyle, check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to exercise, then:
- Start slowly. Walk at a slow to moderate pace 20-30 minutes in a safe location.
- Add on 10 minutes per week until you’re up to 30-45 minutes per walking session.
- Start at two walks per week; then work your way up to five walks per week.
- Take water with you. Stay hydrated.
- Wear comfortable, breathable clothing and supportive walking shoes.
- NEVER walk at night unless in a very well-lit area, wearing reflective clothing.
- To keep yourself on track, find a walking buddy. Challenge one another to walk five times per week.
- If you experience pain, fatigue or weakness while walking, stop your walking regimen and call your doctor.
Is It Working?
Stay on top of your NAFLD condition. Walking appears to be healthy for nearly everyone, but there will always be exceptions. And simply walking – even on a steady schedule – is no guarantee of an improvement in your NAFLD issue.
Ask your doctor to perform follow-up testing in the categories you and she agree are applicable to your situation. Also keep track of how you’re feeling overall as you progress on your walking regimen journey. These combined efforts should tell you whether or not walking is helping you.
Good luck and good health!