Does Exercise Lower Cholesterol
When it comes to cholesterol, we often hear of the good and the bad. The good cholesterol in our bodies helps to remove the bad cholesterol from our bloodstream to help our organs function properly.
High levels of LDL cholesterol can damage your arteries, put you at greater risk for heart disease, heart attack, increase your risk of stroke and arterial blockages so if your doctor tells you to lower your bad cholesterol, its time to make a move.
Exercise is a great place to start if youre trying to lower bad cholesterol, says cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD. But it doesnt stop there. Combining exercise with healthier diet and lifestyle choices makes the most impact.
Find out what the best exercises for lowering cholesterol are and how to get started.
How Quickly Can I Lower My Cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels may lower as quickly as a few weeks to a few months, depending on your treatment plan.
If your levels are very high, your healthcare provider may recommend taking medications at the start of your treatment plan. This may help lower your cholesterol levels more quickly. The sooner you can lower your bad cholesterol levels, the sooner you can lower your risk for plaques to form.
You can also lower your cholesterol through lifestyle and diet changes alone, but it may take three to six months to see results. Talk with your healthcare provider to figure out the best treatment plan for you.
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Whats The Best Exercise To Reduce Cholesterol
If you’re worried that you’ll need to engage in one specific type of exercise to lower your cholesterol, don’t worry. “A lifestyle with regular physical activity is more important than one particular exercise,” Dr. Virani says. That means you can pretty much do what you enjoy, be it:
And there are many other choices according to the AHA. You should aim to find something that you enjoy and can fit into your life regularly.
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What Kind Of Exercise Is Best
Any kind of exercise that you want to do and that you’ll keep doing, she noted. Aerobic exercise and resistance exercise can both provide the cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering benefits.
For someone who doesn’t exercise at all, brisk walking is the best recommendation, because people know how to do it, its easy to incorporate into a daily routine and doesnt require any equipment, Gibbs noted.
Many people already have an activity tracker on their phone or smartwatch, so it could be just a matter of looking at how many steps they take now and boosting that number a bit. It doesn’t have to be so hard, she said.
A recent study found light physical activity like walking, gardening or house work spread throughout the day is key to get the benefits of exercise.
Exercises To Lower Cholesterol: Types Duration And More
Regular exercise can lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of adverse health outcomes. Good physical activity options include brisk walking, running, and resistance training.
The American Heart Association advise people to aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week to lower low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol helps the body build cells, make vitamins and hormones, and digest some fatty foods. However, high levels of LDL cholesterol can be dangerous and put a person at risk of several health issues, including heart attack and stroke.
In this article, we look at whether exercise lowers cholesterol. We also explain which types of physical activity to try and suggest other ways in which a person can manage their cholesterol.
It is worth noting that there are two main types of cholesterol in a persons body: LDL cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein , or good, cholesterol.
When people talk about lowering their cholesterol levels, they are referring to LDL cholesterol. About 38% of adults in the United States have high LDL cholesterol.
Exercise can also help raise HDL cholesterol. A 2013 study showed that walking for 1 hour a day on 5 days of the week for 24 weeks increased the levels of HDL cholesterol in the body.
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Aerobic Exercise And Tg
It is widely reported that exercise can induce lower plasma TG concentrations . However, many studies have shown that sedentary individuals have no change in TG levels after a single exercise session . The reasons for the discrepancies were unclear. It seemed that where there was an exercise with a high energy requirement, there would be more frequent that TG concentrations decreases occur. Actually, TG changes in sedentary subjects did occur regardless of whether the energy consumption is low or moderate . Therefore, the energy consumption may not be the main reason for this distinction. If this is the case, is it the state of the patient before exercise is the key factor? To our disappointment, the TG did not change significantly in non-active subjects with aerobic exercise. But the results of other studies have been very gratifying. The researchers found that when participants had lower baseline levels of TG, there was only a slight decrease in TG after exercise. While, when TG baseline levels were high, there was a significant reduction. Thus, the TG baseline level may be the key factor influencing the effect of exercise on the TG response.
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Patients, in turn, may feel intimidated when asked to exercise more, but the prescription shouldnt be daunting.
We really wanted to make sure that all clinicians feel empowered and take the scariness out of physical activity because it doesn’t have to be going to the gym every day or running 5 miles every day, Gibbs, an associate professor in the department of health and human development at the University of Pittsburgh, told TODAY.
For people who do nothing, even increasing by 30 minutes a week can yield health benefits we just wanted to help physicians know that physical activity is a great option. It treats both cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
About 21% of U.S. adults, or 53 million, have slightly elevated blood pressure according to guidelines released in 2017. That usually means the top number of the reading falling between 120-139 mmHg, and the lower number registering between 80-89 mmHg.
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Aerobic Exercise And Postprandial Lipemia
Vigorous exercise training can significantly reduce postprandial lipids, which is more common in healthy and non-obese individuals. To investigate the effects of vigorous exercise on postprandial TG, subjects exercised before a high fat diet, but exercised for longer periods of time and exercised more intensively . As respected, there was substantial lowering of postprandial TG level. However, for most people, especially cardiovascular patients, such a high intensity of exercise is not appropriate. In fact, this intensive training is not necessary. In order to reduce postprandial blood lipids, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is sufficient. In addition, low-fitness people only need to use low-intensity aerobic exercise . Therefore, despite the high-intensity aerobic exercise have a very significant impact on postprandial lipid changes, for most people, moderate or lower intensity exercise is sufficient.
How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians don’t know they have high cholesterol, because there are no symptoms. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test.
Some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia where a genetic problem leads to high cholesterol. About one in 500 Australians has this condition and many dont know they have it. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or of heart disease at a young age, ask your doctor about your risk.
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Effects Of Moderate Exercise On Ldl
Although researchers are still trying to determine exactly how exercise affects your cholesterol, the bottom line is clear: moderate exercise appears to have favorable effects on your cholesterol levels:
- Moderate exercise reduced LDL cholesterol by up to 10% in some studies. There are a few studies that suggest that exercise may have a slightly positive or neutral effect on LDL.
- Exercising regularly can increase your HDL cholesterol by between 3 and 6%.
Although this may not seem like much, combining exercise with other lifestyle changes can help keep your cholesterol levels, as well as the rest of your body, healthy.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol With Medicines
As well as making lifestyle changes, some people will need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce their risk of heart and blood vessel disease, known as cardiovascular disease. The medicines most commonly used are called statins.
Your doctor will consider all your risk factors for cardiovascular disease before suggesting medication not just your cholesterol and lipid results. If youve already had a heart attack or stroke, taking statins can substantially lower your risk of having another one.
Statins work by slowing the amount of cholesterol made in your liver. In response, your liver uses the cholesterol already in your blood to make up for the deficit. This lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
If statins alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may need additional medicines.
Contact your doctor if your medicines are causing any side effects.
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Reduce Your Intake Of Saturated And Trans Fats
Adopt and follow a healthy diet thats low in saturated and trans fats. A diet high in these fats can raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature. Its found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but also in palm oil, coconut oil and full-cream milk. Read more about saturated fat-rich foods here.
Trans fats are found in store-bought baked goods, snack foods and deep-fried foods. There is strong evidence that trans fats increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, while decreasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
Some foods contain cholesterol . Foods that contain cholesterol include liver, pate, kidneys, prawns and egg yolks. These types of food are not usually eaten in large quantities, so its OK to include them in your diet in small amounts.
Foods that contain saturated fats have a greater effect on blood cholesterol levels than foods that contain dietary cholesterol.
Myth: Eating Foods With A Lot Of Cholesterol Will Not Make My Cholesterol Levels Go Up
Fact: It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so its best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats.
Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
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Eat Fibre To Lower Cholesterol
Eating high-fibre food can also help to lower your cholesterol. Fibre helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood stream from your intestine.
- Make sure you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain fibre along with other nutrients
- Eat plenty of other high fibre foods like pulses oats and seeds.
- Choose more wholegrain foods when you can, such as brown or granary bread over white.
What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
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Lowering Your High Cholesterol: 6 Exercises That Will Pay Off
When you were first diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor may have talked to you about exercise. Besides improving your diet, exercising is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make to help bring your numbers down naturally.
Your first thought may have been, I hate running. Or maybe you like running, but youve been sidelined lately because of an injury. Or maybe you dont mind jogging, but you hate the treadmill.
Running isnt the only way to turn your health around. Theres no doubt that its an effective aerobic exercise, but several other good choices are available that can help counteract the negative affects high cholesterol has on your health.
Ask About Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.
If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.
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Aerobic Exercise And Ldl
Fasting LDL-C is strongly associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease , so it is necessary to make clear the effect of aerobic exercise on LDL-C. Unlike HDL-C, the effect of exercise on LDL-C is inconsistent in human and there are even completely contrary results . The results of these different studies may be due to variations in peoples weight. Some studies showed that aerobic exercise alone did not change the fasting blood LDL-C levels, unless the weight during this period also changed. In addition, research statistics showed that per kilogram of body weight loss resulting in LDL-C reduced by about 0.8 mg/dL .
In rats, the changes of HDL-C are almost the most obviously one than others. It may not only because HDL-C is more vulnerable to exercise, but also because HDL-C is the most abundant of lipids component in rats. Besides, different from the human being, LDL-C consistently decreased after exercise in rats .
Plasma Lp is another LDL subunit containing Apo . However, unlike other low-density lipoprotein subfractions, Lp is genetically influenced, unaffected by motion, and cannot be improved by any form of exercise .
Related Influencing Factors Of Aerobic Exercise On Lipids
Many factors lead to different results on the effects of aerobic exercise on lipoprotein levels, such as various training time or training intensities. Some researchers believe that, to keep this effect longer, then, aerobic exercise time also needs longer, as well as the intensity needs more intensive. Dunn et al. suggested that short-term training could also make improvements on plasma lipids, as long as there was enough exercise intensities. Kraus et al. observed that the total energy consumption and exercise intensity was the main factor affecting lipid changes. ODonovan et al. aimed to study the effect of exercise intensity on lipid changes and found that, in the same amount of exercise, the exercise intensity is higher, the more obvious changes in blood lipids.
The results of these studies suggest that exercise time, exercise volume and exercise intensity all have an effect on exercise-induced changes in blood lipids. HDL-C is the most sensitive to exercise. In order to reduce LDL-C and TG levels more, it is necessary to increase the aerobic exercise intensity. However, this is difficult to achieve in individuals with coronary artery disease who are of limited exercise capacity or other risk factors.
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Strike A Few Yoga Poses
After all this talk about aerobic exercise and lifting weights, it may seem odd that yoga would show up on the list. After all, yoga is mostly stretching, right?
Studies show, however, that yoga may reduce risk of heart disease. In some cases, it may directly affect cholesterol levels.
Researchers reported in the Indian Heart Journal that a three-month yoga program helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. It also improved HDL cholesterol levels in diabetics. The participants practiced for about one hour a day.
In a large study review published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, those who regularly practiced yoga showed significant improvement in LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure over those who didnt exercise.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
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