“Take more rest if you’re sick!” is probably one of the most heard advice. But is it really true that patients shouldn’t do any exercise? Hepatic patients, for instance, should consider their physical condition, doctor’s advice and the state of illness before exercising. Unless all the answers are in the affirmative, they probably shouldn’t. After all, your body knows what is best for you.
But if a hepatic patient is physically fine and the doctor gives him or her the go-ahead, what exercise should he or she do and how to start? We should consider the intensity, duration and frequency of the exercise, and make sure it’s done at a gradual pace. Here are some suggestions:
From strolling to brisk walking
Phase 1 – Pick a park or waterfront promenade and start with a normal walking speed, 2-3 times a week. Walk for 15 minutes for the first time to warm your body up and when your physical condition has adapted to exercising, extend it to 30 minutes.
Phase 2 – Do brisk walking, not running. Likewise, walk for 15 minutes or until your body has adapted to it, then extend it to 20 or 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
During your exercise, it’s important that you should be in a joyful mood with relaxed muscles and take deep, rhythmic breaths.
After a certain period of time brisk walking and you’re physically and mentally prepared, you can gear up your training to jogging. It helps strengthen your cardiovascular function, and improve metabolism and detoxification. But those who have joint pain should refrain from it.
The ideal pace is when you can talk while jogging, otherwise you should adjust your speed. Start with 15 minutes and then extend it to 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
Hong Kong has plenty of trails offering spectacular views and you can start with the low-difficulty ones. Do it at your normal walking speed, especially on steep slopes, and the ideal finishing time should be 2-3 hours.
No matter what exercise you want to do, remember to seek your doctor’s advice beforehand and do it at a gradual pace. Try not to compare yourself with others or try too hard. You just have to listen to your body, increase the intensity step by step and take more rest if you feel tired. After all, it’s not too difficult to find the right exercise for people with a good or bad liver, is it?
Sonia Tsang – Senior Manager, Organization and People Development Division of a listed company; Founder and Executive Director of F8 Funding Limited