Lowering Cholesterol with Exercise

Exercise is very healthy for the human body. There is no doubt that regular exercise has many incredible benefits for our health.  Exercise can lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and lower triglyceride levels a ton.  Not only that, exercise is one of the best ways in the world to raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).  But it gets even better, when you exercise you improve more than just cholesterol levels, you lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease.  And all while improving your mood and the way you look.  What’s not to love?!

This article will give you medical reasons why you need to exercise and great tips to help you get started right.

Reasons to Exercise- Lowering Cholesterol and So Much More

  1. Physical exercise enhances the effectiveness of our insulin helping it more easily regulate our glucose levels and helping to burn abdominal fat.
  2. Regulates lipids or fats: physical exercise usually increases good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
  3. Helps regulate blood pressure.
  4. Decreases obesity: our metabolism becomes more active with exercise and helps in many cases to lose weight or prevent heart disease.
  5. Eliminate stress: physical exercise is a good way to eliminate or counteract the effects of stress. Relaxation promotes better hormonal balance and help lower cholesterol.
  6. Exercise is a natural way to elevate your mood.  It works as well as medications for mild depression.
  7. Lowers cancer risk:  including breast, gastrointestinal, and lung cancers.
  8. Exercise improves your brain health.  Studies show older people who exercise vigorously and regularly have a 40% lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

How much exercise should I do to lower cholesterol?

Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, swimming, cycling are most beneficial for lowering cholesterol. The intensity and duration of exercise that is best for you will depend on  your overall health and previous activity level.

Remember, any exercise is better than no exercise!

If you are just starting out, walking one hour, three times a week can be enough.  Many people at this point also love in-home video workouts, because they might be a bit self-conscious going to the gym.  Luckily, there is a huge variety of  fun, effective programs to choose from.  Slim in 6 is one I’ve found great for people just starting out.  The moves are easy, and when I did it I saw a big fat-loss in just 6 weeks.  (My wife won’t let me do it anymore because it makes me TOO skinny! )

As your fitness improves, you can graduate to do more intense exercises (running, swimming, cycling, P90X, etc.).

Exercise Guidelines to Lower Cholesterol

The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recently updated their physical activity guidelines.  Although not specific for cholesterol lowering, following them will improve your lipid profile- especially by lowering your triglycerides and raising your HDL cholesterol.

Healthy adults should:

  • do moderate intensity cardio 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week -OR- vigorous, high-intensity cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.
  • also do strength / resistance training twice a week

Note:  this is to maintain good health and prevent disease.  If you need to lose weight or lower your triglycerides and cholesterol by the maximum amount, more exercise will be needed.

Exercise Tips

  • Short bouts add up.  Exercise is cumulative throughout the day.  By this I mean that 10 minutes of activity 3 times a day is essentially just as good as 30 minutes continuous exercise.
  • Make exercise part of your day.  You shower every day, right?  Exercise is way more important to your health than clean pits (I can say that since I don’t have to sit next to you).   So set aside time in advance every day.  If you make a date, you are more likely to keep it.
  • Variety is the spice of fitness, so find feel free to mix it up as you like.  Today, most well-balanced exercise programs combine both an aerobic (cardio) activity with resistance training.  You’ll find these programs will give you the best exercise results and be easier to stick with as well.

Bonus Tips to Help You Love Exercise Even More!

There are many people who have trouble finding the time or discipline to get in enough exercise to lower cholesterol levels.   For you we have these simple bonus tips:

  • Go on foot or bike when we go short distances (you’ll love the fresh air and you’ll even save a little on gas!).
  • Park a little farther away from our workplace, then walk the last ten or fifteen minutes to get there.
  • Go up and down the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • When we are nervous, go out for a walk  instead of eating something (which will always be sweet or fat).
  • Choose an exercise program just for busy people like Ten-Minute Trainer (below).

We hope you enjoy these simple tips about how you can lowering cholesterol with exercise. Physical exercise is undoubtedly one of the main pillars, along with diet to eliminate or lower cholesterol and improve your health.

OK, enough typing.  Time to put my money where my mouth is and go work out!!

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