Exercise can help release tension and improve your level of health. It can help you increase your fitness level. You can do it even if you suffer from fatigue, but remember to not tire yourself too much. Symptomatic hepatitis patients may need to avoid stressful activities, and each person’s tolerance for stress will be different, and can change. It is nonetheless important for people who can exercise to do so, up to their level of tolerance. This should be done with care, since crossing the “invisible line” of exercise intolerance may prompt a flare-up. That can be bad for your immune system.
- Bicycle riding – ride a little further each day/week
- Commuting--Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home
- Walking (increase the distance you walk each day/week) Invite a friend or get a dog.
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Play a game of golf
- Practice yoga
- Gardening – plant some herbs that are good for your liver. (Dandelion, milk thistle, artichokes...)
- Kick a ball around with kids or grandkids
- Walk on escalators instead of standing
- Choose an activity you enjoy and can participate in on a regular basis.
Please consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
5.3.0 Stress management
Typically, one of the most beneficial things a person with hepatitis can do is to avoid stress and get lots of rest. Stress does not merely mean only unpleasant experiences, but rather any biological stressors, physical or emotional, which prompt a protective reaction in the body. Failure to avoid stress often leads to short-term and long-term set-backs which may be serious.
High-stress events sometimes seem to “trigger” the flare-ups of the virus and they will usually worsen the symptoms if the virus is already active. Medical studies show that stress plays an important role in several immune-mediated illnesses.
5.4.0 Positive attitude
Laughter and a positive spirit are good for the body. They provide interferon, the body’s natural infection
fighter, and produce endorphins to combat depression and anxiety.
5.5.0 Tai Chi / Chi Kung / Yoga / Meditation
5.5.1 Tai Chi
For those with symptoms of Hep C, such as fatigue and muscle aches, doing exercise can be a problem, but it is so important to our health. When Wendy Mackay of British Columbia found that even walking was too much, she decided to try Tai Chi I 2004, and was able, with the help of the instructors, to participate in class, sitting out most of it at first, and even then, battling migraines and feeling sicker. Gradually, she was able to participate more and more, and she built up her strength and stamina.
During the second year, the pain started going away. She can now stay awake longer. Her digestion and respiratory function have improved. The more she does, the more she can do, and the better she feels. She says it helps her concentration and gets rid of the “brain fog.” Cognitive function improves as one focuses on learning and remembering the moves in the Taoist Tai Chi set. This form of movement also provides a calming meditative aspect for the mind, which helps reduce stress and anxiety often associated with chronic illness.
“The reality of this disease is that many of us are unable to continue working or perform manual labour, let alone enjoy any sort of social life. By focusing on what we can do, rather than on what we can no longer do, we provide our body and mind with the tools to help us feel well,” says Wendy.
Wendy is now an accredited Taoist Tai Chi instructor! You can read her story at
www.hepcaustralia.com.au/symptoms-news/hep-c-and-exercise-experience-tips.html, and please visit her website at www.wendyswellness.ca
People with Hep C may find benefits from Bikram Yoga. This type of yoga is being used at the Hepatitis C Clinic at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington, as a regular part of treatment for hepatitis C as of about a year ago.
Bikram Yoga is performed in rooms heated to 85-105 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 60 to 70 percent. It incorporates a sequence of 26
poses, and is supposed to flush out the toxins accumulated in the body. Bikram Yoga is to be used combined with—not instead of—standard
treatment for hepatitis C. The heavy sweating that occurs may detoxify the body is also used at the clinic for post-chemo cancer patients. It is
hoped that the yoga will increase blood circulation in the liver, thus reducing immune substances that react to the virus and cause liver
"This is still hypothetical," says Standish, director of the Centre. "But the kind of aerobic exercise that would be most valuable to flushing the liver would be yoga, and especially yoga where there is increased blood flow as well as sweating."
One of the benefits of yoga is that it stills the mind, and this may help boost the immune system, reduce fatigue, and alleviate depression. The yoga won’t get rid of the virus by itself, but it may help keep the liver healthy until a cure can be found.
Please consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
5.6.0 Other ways to help keep yourself healthy
Avoid exposure to chemical fumes, gasoline fumes, etc.
Use the least toxic products (cleaning products, health and beauty aids, etc) available in your home and on your body.
Some US researchers used data from 2003-2005 to find adults with pollutants in their blood or urine. 37.6% of the subjects had high ALT levels, even though those with Hep B and C, those who have abused alcohol, and those with iron overload were not counted. The results indicated that about 70 million adults in the US have liver problems not caused by the expected risk factors. Most are due to NASH (fatty liver).
The researchers could blame some of the problem on pollutants like pesticides (some that were banned decades ago) and heavy metals. High levels of heavy metals and pesticides were associated with higher ALT. Subjects with the highest levels of mercury had double the risk of an elevated ALT. Two pesticides banned in the U.S. since the 1970s and 1980s, dieldrin and heptachlor epoxide, were also associated with more risk of liver disease.
Most people are exposed to pollutants through food. Once in the body, they are not well metabolized. The pesticides are notorious for
accumulating in fat tissue, so those who are overweight may have higher levels of pollutants in their bodies.
(www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/DDW/14428 DDW 2009; Abstract 289. May 29, 2009)
Watch your weight! NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is any disease of the liver caused by fats in those who drink little or no alcohol. One of the causes can be hepatitis C. Much of the fat in the liver comes from your diet. It seems to be related to excess weight, diabetes and insulin resistance.
No one knows why NAFLD occurs, but it is treated by weight loss, as well as medicine, insulin and/or diet to control diabetes. NAFLD is now
known to be a stepping stone to cirrhosis in 25% of people. Fat from food is deposited into the liver, making it difficult for the liver to
metabolize the fat resulting from carbohydrates. If insulin levels are high, the fat synthesis is turned on 24/7, but it is not known if that is
a cause or an effect. Diet may correct the fat buildup. Antioxidants and exercise may help, too, as may the Mediterranean Diet.
(www.hepatitisneighborhood.com/content/inthenews/archive2332.aspx 05-04-05 John C. Martin, Fatty Liver: Your Diet is Partially to Blame, Says Study)
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