Physical exercise (even in the absence of weight loss) is known to improve liver disease by decreasing inflammation and fat deposition. However, until now, a prospective study has not been conducted to determine if physical exercise can prevent liver disease.
In this sense, the results of a prospective study carried out in the United States have recently been published, incluiding 125,264 people since 1976 and evaluating the physical activity of each participant. It was found that among participants who performed at least 3 hours of exercise weekly (walking), the number of deaths from liver disease was reduced by 25%.
On the other hand, it was found that when youth gained weight, the risk of developing liver disease increased significantly. However, the exercise mentioned above (even without losing weight) was beneficial. Also in obese people who performed exercise (3 hours / week) the risk of developing liver disease decreased. These results were observed equally in men and women.
Importance of sport to avoid diseases
In summary, to avoid liver diseases (especially fatty liver that affects 20-40% of the population) it is very important to perform physical activity at least 3 hours per week (walking is enough). Furthermore, since physical activity and obesity have similar pathways of influence in inflammation and cancer development, exercise can be helpful in improving longevity in general.
In future studies, all type of physical exercise should be included to know if one is more effective than others in preventing liver diseases. This study will have to be carried out prospectively trying to find out the optimal intensity of physical exercise to minimize the risk of developing liver disease.