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Why Exercise Should Be an Important Part of Your Cholesterol-Lowering Plan

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Updated October 24, 2011

Why Exercise Should Be an Important Part of Your Cholesterol-Lowering Plan

Buddying up could help lower your cholesterol.

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Whether you are trying to prevent high cholesterol, or have already been diagnosed with it, exercise can be an important weapon in the fight against high cholesterol and heart disease. According to recent studies, regular exercise has the ability to lower LDL levels (also known as “bad” cholesterol) and raise HDL cholesterol (also known as “good” cholesterol).

How low can your cholesterol levels go if you regularly exercise? Current studies suggest that LDL cholesterol can be lowered by 5 to 10%, whereas HDL cholesterol can be raised by between 3 and 6% with regular exercise. While most of these studies involved aerobic exercises, such as swimming, running, and jogging, there are a handful of studies that have also looked at the healthy benefits of other forms of exercise, such as yoga and walking, in lowering cholesterol, too. Regardless of which type you select, exercise can be an important part of your cholesterol-lowering regimen.

Current guidelines suggest that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for most days of the week. If you haven’t exercised in a while, it is important to start out gradually so that you don’t injure yourself or get burned out. For some people, just finding the time to exercise can be an issue. If this sounds like you, the 30-minute interval can be divided up. Additionally, there are shortcuts you can fit into the day that force you to get some exercise.

In any case, exercise has many benefits – besides lowering your cholesterol. Exercise can also strengthen your heart, bones, and other muscles of the body, in addition to helping you to lose weight.

Sources:

Slentz CA, Houmard JA, Johnson JL et al. Inactivity, exercise training and detraining, and plasma lipoproteins. STRRIDE: a randomized, controlled study of exercise intensity and amount. J Appl Physiol. 2007 Aug;103(2):417-8.

Powers E, Saultz J, Hamilton A, et al. Clinical inquiries. Which lifestyle interventions effectively lower LDL cholesterol? J Fam Pract. 2007 Jun;56(6):483-5.

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