Exercising is an essential part in reversing your fatty liver disease. Combined with a proper diet, becoming more active will help you burn the fat accumulated inside the liver faster and get back in tip top shape.
Today, we’re going to look at the best types of exercises you should do in your quest to reverse your fatty liver disease. These are part of the lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to regain your health.
And this is probably the most difficult, even more difficult than giving up sugar or alcohol, especially if you were – like I was – somebody who didn’t exercise at all before being diagnosed.
But it is something that you must do in most cases, even though switching to a proper diet and eating all those amazing fatty liver superfoods will help tremendously.
Yes, it’s not easy, but it has to be done. I was able to do it by adding exercising slowly to my life, which means that anybody can.
After all, it’s your health that you’re talking about – so stop finding excuses!
How Exercise Can Help You Reverse NAFLD
Exercise is a potent elixir for getting your health back and especially in the fight against fatty liver disease.
It helps reduce liver fat, improves insulin resistance, and bolsters overall liver function.
With the right combination of physical activities, you can regain control of your health and prevent this silent enemy from striking again.
And I’m not even getting into the plethora of other benefits that come from exercising – even a bit, even a few times a week.
Top Exercises for Reversing Fatty Liver Disease
Now that we know the basics and hopefully being a bit motivated, let’s check out below the best types of exercising you should try in your fight to regain your health.
I am not listing them in any particular order – simply choose the one(s) that sound best for you, make a plan to exercise regularly and stick to it!
Cardio: Brisk Walking and Jogging
Believe it or not, the simplest of physical exercises can yield astonishing results. Brisk walking and jogging are accessible, effective workouts that can kickstart your journey to a healthier liver.
This is actually what I have done almost exclusively and I did manage to reverse my fatty liver. The best part? You will start loving it more and more with each passing day.
To make the most of brisk walking or jogging, start with a comfortable pace, focusing on maintaining proper form. You most likely lack in this area, and you have to build up your muscles and endurance slowly.
When I first tried to run on a treadmill after being diagnosed, I was only able to do it for 4 minutes at around 9 kmh (around 5.6 mph). Now, I can run without stopping – even at a slightly faster pace for around 30 minutes.
While you can do much better, the bottom line here is that you shouldn’t be afraid of starting small. Do as much as you can, take a break, then do it again.
Keep your head up, shoulders relaxed, and arms swinging gently at your sides. Aim for a stride length that feels natural and sustainable, gradually increasing your pace as your endurance improves.
Incorporate these exercises into your routine at least three times a week, with each session lasting for 30 minutes or more. I wrote a bit more in depth about jogging and fatty liver here.
I personally started walking instead of driving more often than not and I walk at a brisk pace daily, usually over 10,000 steps per day. Combine that with more intense cardio (like jogging) for around 30 minutes every 3 days a week and you are doing great!
To enhance motivation and track your progress, consider using a fitness app or device to monitor your distance, speed, and heart rate.
Remember, consistency is crucial, so make a conscious effort to stay committed and watch your liver health flourish.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Push Your Limits
If you’re craving a more exhilarating workout, HIIT might be your go-to solution.
This form of training alternates between high-intensity bursts and low-intensity recovery periods, giving you a heart-pounding experience that torches calories and combats fatty liver.
It’s basically cardio on steroids and probably something you can switch over to once you build up some endurance first. It’s a bit more demanding, but also more rewarding, requiring fewer minutes per day in order to achieve great results.
To begin your HIIT journey, after doing the regular warm-up, engage in an intense burst of activity for a short duration (jumping rope, running or cycling, for example), typically 30 seconds to a minute.
Follow this with a recovery period of equal or slightly longer duration, during which you perform the activity at a lower intensity. Repeat this cycle several times, aiming for a total workout time of 20-30 minutes.
This burns calories like crazy and will help you get in shape faster as long as you can stick to it.
Make sure to focus on maintaining proper form during the high-intensity intervals in order to avoid injury and maximize the benefits of HIIT. I would go as far as saying that it’s best to do this – especially if you were mostly a couch potato before – only with a personal trainer.
I personally tried HIIT and I am still doing this every now and then, but traditional jogging at a constant pace works best for me.
It doesn’t mean that you should do like I do – just find what works best for you without feeling any pressure to do a specific thing or another.
Related reading: Make sure to also check out my article about cycling and fatty liver.
Strength Training: Fortify Your Muscles
Strength training is a formidable ally in the battle against fatty liver. By building muscle mass and increasing metabolic rate, resistance exercises can enhance your liver’s resilience.
Whether you opt for free weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises, fortifying your muscles can translate to a healthier liver.
I personally wasn’t able to do a lot of strength training because of other health problems I have (mainly related to back problems and injuries), but this would’ve been a really good way to get back in shape and also sculpt that perfect body you always dreamed about.
So definitely consider this (or alternate it with HIIT or cardio) if you can do it!
To begin your strength training journey, it’s crucial to choose exercises that target all major muscle groups. Incorporate compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses for an efficient and effective workout.
Additionally, supplement these exercises with isolation movements like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and calf raises to ensure a well-rounded routine.
Again, I have to say that unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s best to go for a personal trainer to learn the moves and how to properly do all these exercises.
When starting out, it’s essential to prioritize proper form over heavy weights. Begin with a weight that allows you to perform each exercise with control and precision, typically 8-12 repetitions per set.
Gradually increase the weight or resistance as your strength improves, maintaining a focus on technique to minimize the risk of injury.
Aim to engage in resistance training at least two to three times per week, allowing for adequate recovery time between sessions.
Swimming: Dive Into a Healthier Life
Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that can help subdue fatty liver. This is perfect for those who have back problems like I do or other types of health issues that prevent them from doing any of the exercise types above.
It’s also extremely fun and rewarding and can be used as an alternative or mixed in every now and then for some added variety.
By engaging multiple muscle groups and elevating your heart rate, swimming helps you lose weight, get back in shape and ultimately speed up your reversal of NAFLD.
To maximize the benefits of swimming, choose a stroke that suits your fitness level and personal preferences. Begin with a comfortable pace and gradually increase your intensity as your endurance and technique improve.
To further enhance your progress, consider joining a swim club or engaging a swim coach to provide guidance and support.
Yoga and Pilates
The harmonious blend of strength, flexibility, and mindfulness in yoga and Pilates makes them a good alternative for the suggestions above, although they won’t be as intense (read: burn as many calories) as the ones above.
Still, they are much better than nothing and maybe a good place to start before switching to more intensive exercises – or do this in between the more intense training sessions.
In the battle against fatty liver, exercising is an amazing weapon that can help you regain control over your health and heal your liver in the process.
By incorporating any or all of the workouts recommended above such as brisk walking, jogging, HIIT, strength training, swimming, and even yoga or Pilates, you can create a well-rounded exercise regimen tailored to your style, which will help you reverse your condition faster.
Make sure to commit to this type of exercising and pair it with a diet that’s appropriate for fatty liver, only eating nutritious, liver-safe foods and staying away from bad ones.
It’s not easy to create a schedule and especially to stick to it, but I guarantee that it’s worth it and it gets easier and easier as the weeks and months go by.
I was diagnosed with a fatty liver back in 2014 and managed to reverse it by mid 2015. Since then, I’ve been studying NAFLD and I have decided to share everything I have learned over the years to help you reverse your condition.
I am also the admin of the Fatty Liver Support Group on Facebook and the Fatty Liver Subreddit.