Regular exercise can help lower cholesterol, lowering the risk of developing adverse health consequences. Brisk walking, running, and resistance training are excellent forms of physical activity.
Maybe you’ve heard that exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce your cholesterol. But, how does it work? And what is the most effective form of exercise, in terms of cholesterol health benefits?
What is it about exercise that makes it so effective at lowering cholesterol?
The more you exercise, the less low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol you have in your body. This is due to the fact that exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood to the liver. It is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy, as well as keep your body in shape.
Moderate exercise also helps produce good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in your body, which helps flush out your LDL cholesterol. Exercise represents a potential therapy for the improvement of the atheroprotective functions of HDL.
Moderate exercise has a lot of positive effects on your cholesterol levels:
- Moderate exercise can reduce LDL cholesterol by 25%. A 150-minute moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week is enough to lower cholesterol and can also reduce high blood pressure.
- Regular exercise can boost your HDL cholesterol by 3 to 6%. For example, studies show that women who have a lot of daily activity have much higher HDL cholesterol levels than women who don’t exercise as much. In men with moderate to high levels of belly fat, endurance exercise made their HDL good cholesterol levels rise.
To maintain a healthy diet and way of life, the American Heart Association recommends the following forms of exercise:
- Vigorous walking (3 miles per hour or faster)
- Biking (10 miles per hour or slower)
- Playing tennis (doubles)
- Casual or ballroom dancing
- Water aerobics
The American Heart Association also recommends high-intensity exercises, which can include:
- Racewalking, jogging, or running
- Swimming laps
- Playing tennis (singles)
- Aerobic dancing
- Bicycling (10 miles per hour or faster)
- Hiking uphill
- Jumping rope
- Aerobic dancing
Walking is a great way to stay in shape and healthy, and it’s often more convenient and manageable than running.
Walking at a brisk pace regularly has numerous health benefits. In a study, people who walk for one hour per day, five days per week saw lower LDL cholesterol levels than their peers who did not walk at all.
Running has numerous health benefits. It can assist people in becoming more physically fit, losing weight, and improving their mental health.
According to a study, long-distance runners showed significantly better improvements in HDL cholesterol levels than short-distance runners. They also noticed a reduction in their blood pressure and a reduction of LDL cholesterol levels. Compared with runners who ran less than 16 km (10 miles) per week, long-distance runners (≥80 km/wk) showed an 85% reduced prevalence of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that were clinically low, a 2.5-fold increased prevalence of clinically defined high levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a nearly 50% reduction in hypertension, and more than a 50% reduction in the use of medications to lower blood pressure and plasma cholesterol levels.
A bicycle ride is an excellent aerobic exercise for burning calories and lowering bad cholesterol. Experts recommend riding your bicycle to work or while running errands, as opposed to driving or taking public transportation.
At least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week should be your goal. Once you’ve gotten your body in shape, you can increase your workout time to 45 to 60 minutes on most days.
Resistance training is also beneficial for lowering LDL cholesterol. Study shows that people who participated in a resistance-training program had significantly lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels than those who didn’t.
Sporting and recreational activities
Participating in sports and recreational activities can help lower cholesterol and improve overall mental health while being fun!
The most important considerations are how much energy the body expends while participating in the sport or recreational activity and how frequently the individual participates.
The following sports and activities can help:
- Basketball, football, and soccer are examples of team sports.
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
Ask Yourself: How Much Exercise Do I Need?
- To maintain a lower cholesterol level, you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise five days a week.
- You should engage in 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise at least three to four times per week to help lower your lipids and blood pressure levels.
Exercise is an excellent place to start if you want to reduce your bad cholesterol. However, it does not end there. Exercise combined with a healthier diet, improved lifestyle choices and medications has the most significant impact when it comes to lowering cholesterol.
Statins may be your only option if your cholesterol levels remain high despite making healthy lifestyle changes.
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