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Your liver doesn't have to hurt to be damaged. A blood test indicating elevated liver enzymes can mean that your liver cells are injured or inflamed 1. A main cause of elevated liver enzymes is obesity 1. An unhealthy lifestyle can wreck havoc on your organs, and your liver is no exception. Almost everything you eat and drink passes through the liver.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Consuming high sugar and fat substances regularly can take a toll on your liver. Exercising to eliminate excess fat and watching what you eat can reduce liver enzymes.
In some cases, high-intensity exercise can raise liver enzymes. Strenuous exercise puts an increased strain on the organs of the body, including the liver.
Alter your exercise program to perform moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise. For aerobic exercise, your heart rate should remain around 60 percent of your maximum. Resistance exercises should be approached with caution. Also do exercises that involve dynamic contractions. Isometric resistance training -- resistance without muscle movement -- is considered high intensity and puts a strain on the entire body. To determine the right intensity of resistance exercise for you, work on the rating of perceived exertion, or RPE, scale. RPE is a measurement of how intensity of work feels. The scale extends from light exercise to very, very hard exercise. Keep the intensity of resistance training at a somewhat hard level. This will assure that exercise is not contraindicative of your goal of decreasing liver enzymes.
- In some cases, high-intensity exercise can raise liver enzymes.
- To determine the right intensity of resistance exercise for you, work on the rating of perceived exertion, or RPE, scale.
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According to the American College of Sports Medicine, aerobic exercise done five to seven days per week for 45 to 60 minutes per session is optimal 4.
The mode of aerobic exercise should be a physical activity that uses large muscle groups in a rhythmic and dynamic manner. Aerobic exercise that fulfills these requirements includes bicycling, swimming or walking.
Resistance exercises should be done two to three days per week. You can do a variety of exercises that work all the major muscle groups. Your program should be aimed at training for endurance and not for power. Set goals for higher sets and reps, instead of more weight.
To train your muscles in this manner, work up to performing two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Always increase sets or repetitions before weight.
- Resistance exercises should be done two to three days per week.
- Your program should be aimed at training for endurance and not for power.
Lower Body Resistance Exercises
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Lower body resistance training should target the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. These are the largest muscles in the body and should be trained as such. For your quadricep muscles, do a leg extension. To perform this exercise, start in a seated position, with an ankle weight on one leg.
Slowly extend your foot up so your knee is straightened. In a controlled manner, lower your leg back down and repeat on both sides. To work the hamstrings, do a hamstring curl. Lying face down with ankle weights on, and your legs fully extended, curl one foot toward your butt. Slowly lower it and repeat on both sides. To work the glutes, do a wall squat. With a fitness ball between you and a wall, slowly lower yourself down into a squatting position and then back up.
Allow the ball to support your back while you perform the exercise. Be sure that your knees do not extend over your feet.
- Lower body resistance training should target the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
- For your quadricep muscles, do a leg extension.
Upper Body Resistance Exercises
Upper body exercises should work the biceps, triceps and shoulders. To work the biceps, do a bicep curl. Begin with a hand weight in each hand with your arms straight on each side with palms facing out.
Slowly curl the weight up to your shoulder by bending your elbows. Lower the weights back down, then repeat. A tricep extension is done in a standing position with a weight in each hand. Start with weights on either side of your chest with elbows bent.
To perform the exercise, extend your hands out behind you by straightening your elbows. Return to the starting position and repeat. The shoulders can be worked with a lateral raise.
Start with arms down on each side of your body and a weight in each hand. Lift your arms out at your sides up to shoulder height, then slowly lower them back down and repeat.
- Upper body exercises should work the biceps, triceps and shoulders.
- To perform the exercise, extend your hands out behind you by straightening your elbows.
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- MayoClinic.com: Elevated Liver Enzymes
- "ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription"; Mithcell H. Whaley, PhD, Peter H. Brubaker, Phd, Robert Otto, Phd (Eds.); 2006
- "Mildly Elevated Liver Transaminase Levels in the Asymptomatic Patient"; Paul T. Giboney, M.D.; 2005
- American Council on Exercise: Exercise Library
- Willis LH, Slentz CA, Bateman LA, et al. Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. J Appl Physiol. 2012;113(12):1831-7. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011
Laura Niedziocha began her writing career in 2007. She has contributed material to the Stoneking Physical Therapy and Wellness Center in Lambertville, N.J., and her work has appeared in various online publications. Niedziocha graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She also has her Associate of Arts in communications from the Community College of Philadelphia.