Exercising with Cirrhosis
It is possible to work out no matter how long we had the hepatitis C virus. This exercise set is for those of us who have advanced liver disease. I managed to work out at some level with varices and ascites. I even did mild exercises while on HCV treatment. I am convinced that it is one of the reasons I am alive today.
Consult with your doctor
It’s important to listen to your doctor. They may have limits on the amount and type of exercise you can do. Learn to take your heart rate by yourself. You might also use a blood pressure cuff to monitor your heart during exertion. An easy way to check your heart rate is to find your pulse by placing 2 fingers on your wrist or on your neck below your ear. Look at the second hand on a clock. Count your heart beats for 6 seconds. Add a 0 to that number. Example: A count of 11 means your heart is beating 110 times a minute. Slow down. When your heart beat is at 8, that means 80. Your doctor will give you a number. This is only a general guideline.
Ideas and tips
Let’s look at some Do’s for exercising with problems like portal hypertension, ascites, and varices.
- Do use weights that are under 5 lbs unless approved by your doctor.
- Do keep your heart rate below 80 bpm even while doing advanced exercise.
- Do wear a sturdy shoe to help your feet be stable.
- Do keep from straining your abdomen while pushing, lunging, bending over, or stretching.
- Do protect your knees, back, neck, and joints from injury.
- Now here is a don’t: Don’t worry! You can get a good workout by doing these safe and simply exercises.
- Walking at a steady pace for 10 or more minutes per day is always a good choice.
- Swinging your arms while walking brings your heart rate up for more energy and calorie burning. Lower your arms to bring your heart rate back down.
- Sit in a chair and put your foot straight out in front of you. Hang a purse or bag on your foot and lift it up and down 12 times. Repeat. Change legs and do 2 sets on opposite leg.
- Sit in a kitchen chair. Hold a can of vegetables in each hand with your arms down at your side. Keep your back straight. Raise your hands until they are level with your shoulders. Slowly lower them. Do this 12 times. Repeat.
- While still holding the cans, push them straight into the air toward the ceiling. Slowly lower them back to your side. Do this 12 times. Repeat.
- If you can’t get outside for a walk, that won’t stop you. Simply stand in front of a window, or even the television. Walking in place. Sometimes I just march around the living room. I move my arms like I’m in a marching band parade.
This may not sound like a lot of work to some of you. But if you have cirrhosis from the hepatitis C virus, you have to follow special rules to protect yourself while you exercise. The key to a strong long life is to stay active. We can treat for hepatitis C and be smart and strong too!
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