You might have hated PE in high school, but it doesn’t mean you are destined to be a couch potato. Exercise can and should be fun. If you love playing with your dog, for example, that is good exercise and one that can help lower your cholesterol, according to the Web MD website. Exercise doesn’t work by burning off the cholesterol, but it will help your body get rid of its bad cholesterol by converting it to a better form.
Exercise Lowers Cholesterol
Researchers always assumed that if people would exercise, they would lower their cholesterol, because exercise helps you to keep your weight down. Being overweight tends to increase your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease. Dietary changes are one way to lower cholesterol. Exercise is another. Exercise stimulates certain enzymes in your body to move LDL to the liver where the body can get rid of it.
How It Works
Exercise turns your protein particles from being small and dense to big and fluffy. This is significant because protein particles are what carry cholesterol through the blood. The small, dense ones can squeeze their way into your heart and blood vessels. The big, fluffy ones cannot do that, according to the Web MD website.
Vigor Is Better
While moderate exercise helps to lower cholesterol, if you really want to do some good, you need to exercise vigorously, like the equivalent of jogging 20 miles a week versus the equivalent of walking 12. Not only will intense exercise lower your LDL cholesterol, it will raise your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol. HDL helps carry the cholesterol to the liver and away from the blood.
If you have been living on a diet heavy on burgers, french fries and sodas and consider walking to the mailbox your daily exercise, you will benefit the most from exercise improving your cholesterol numbers, says Dr. Roger Blumenthal of Johns Hopkins University on the Web MD website. Blumenthal has seen people in this category reduce LDL by as much as 15 percent and increase HDL by 20 percent.
How Long and What Kind?
If you already exercise, you are golden. Choose exercises that you can do for 30 minutes a day that last at least 10 minutes per session. Exercise for 60 minutes a day if you are trying to lose weight, in addition to lowering your cholesterol. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming or using exercise machines are all good choices. If you have not been exercising on a regular basis, start slowly and check in with your doctor about getting a blood or treadmill test for a heart evaluation first.
Pick Something Fun
Change up your routine so that you don’t get bored. Choose activities that you love doing, too, such as walking your dog, running around with your kids, playing tennis, biking with a community group or working out with a friend. If you keep up this regular exercise, in 12 to 16 weeks you should reduce your total cholesterol by 10 to 20 percent and will reduce fat around your waist and abdomen, says Duke University exercise physiologist Ralph La Forge.
- blond girl playing tennis on open court image by starush from Fotolia.com