How To Avoid Liver Disease: Walk, Join Strength Training For Lower Risk

There is another reason to work on being physically active. A new study shows that walking and muscle-strengthening activities could significantly reduce the risks of dying from liver disease. 

The findings come from more than 26 years of analysis of exercise habits of 117,000 people. The researchers hope their study could help provide a better guide on exercise recommendations for patients at risk for cirrhosis or chronic liver disease.

There has been an increasing number of people suffering from chronic liver disease. The condition has also been linked to the growing obesity epidemic. 

"The benefit of exercise is not a new concept, but the impact of exercise on mortality from cirrhosis and from liver cancer has not yet been explored on this scale," Tracey Simon, lead researcher and instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said in a statement

"Our findings show that both walking and strength training contribute to substantial reductions in risk of cirrhosis-related death, which is significant because we know very little about modifiable risk factors," she added. 

For the study, Simon and her team observed nearly 68,450 women and about 48,750 men. Prior to the research, participants did not report any known liver disease.

The researchers asked each participant about their physical activity, including type and intensity, every two years from 1986 through 2012. Results showed that the adults who spent more time walking every week had 73 percent lower risk for cirrhosis-related death than those with the lowest physical activity. 

Significantly lower risk appeared in people who combined walking and muscle-strengthening exercises as part of their daily routines. 

The researchers said their study is the first effort to cover a large U.S. population and to include detailed and updated measurements of physical activity over such a prolonged period. They noted the longer research period allowed them to more precisely estimate the relationship between physical activity and liver-related outcomes.

"In the U.S., mortality due to cirrhosis is increasing dramatically, with rates expected to triple by the year 2030,” Simon said. "Our findings support further research to define the optimal type and intensity of physical activity to prevent adverse outcomes in patients at risk for cirrhosis."

Walking Walking has been found effective to help people reduce the risk of dying from liver disease and to reduce the effects of chronic pain. Pixabay