Trying to get those cholesterol numbers in line? Your doctor has probably told you that exercise is one thing you can do to get your numbers in the healthy range, but you probably still have a few questions. What kind of exercises to reduce cholesterol work best? How long should you do it? How often? And perhaps the most pressing question of all – how much impact can exercise have on cholesterol numbers?
So long as you’re exercising the right way, experts like Patrick McBride, MD, MPH, director of the preventive cardiology program and the cholesterol clinic at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, believe the answer to that last question is quite a lot. Being active on a regular basis affects your cholesterol levels in two beneficial ways…
- Helps to lower triglycerides that at high levels are associated with heart disease.
- Helps to raise levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) in your blood.
If you exercise regularly you can bring your triglycerides down by 30% to 40%, and bring up that HDL by 5 to 8 mg/dL. Notice we haven’t mentioned LDL (bad) cholesterol here. Unfortunately it appears exercise cannot bring this value down, unless you also loose a significant amount of weight. Your doctor has probably told you that being too heavy is known to increase the amount of LDL in your blood.
When it comes to what kind of exercise is best, experts stress it’s not so much the type of workout as it is how often you do it.
Where once doctors recommended only aerobic endurance workouts for cholesterol lowering, it turns out that a number of studies on resistance training have shown some powerful effects on cholesterol – especially if you do moderate strength training a lot – circuit training with 10 reps each station, with three cycles of the whole circuit – you can get some very respectable improvements in your cholesterol numbers.
Typically experts recommend a combination of exercise to get the most benefit to your cholesterol numbers…
- Aerobics get your heart rate up.
- Strength training builds muscle.
- Flexibility exercise to keep you limber.
And how intense should those workouts be?
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Best Exercises To Control Your Cholesterol… Continued…
While some fitness regimens call for you to “feel the burn”, working to bring cholesterol numbers down isn’t one of those. Frequency and the amount of time you spend exercising are what count more in this case. You’ll want to go for moderate intensity of a good long duration – at least a half hour of exercise five to six days each week. Forget getting your heart rate in some “target zone” instead shoot for low resistance and a nice long, 45-minute workout.
Remember, true fitness means that you are strong, flexible and have endurance – something you get from regular workouts like the type described above. All exercise is good exercise and has incredible benefits (not just to cholesterol levels) for your body. Engaging in exercises to reduce cholesterol will also help your heart, your blood pressure, improve diabetes and bring down your risk of heart attack or devastating stroke.