Exercise and Cholesterol

Whenever you talk to your doctor about a health issue that is affecting you, you hear the same dreaded advice: you have to exercise more. But, what can exercise possibly have to do with high cholesterol? Actually, you would be surprised to learn how much you can lower your cholesterol with exercise, eve if you do not change your diet.

How does it work?

The main way exercise affects cholesterol in your blood is by helping you maintain healthy weight. Obesity tends to increase the production of ” Ëœbad” â„¢ cholesterol, LDL, which can lead to a range of coronary diseases. The latest research also found that exercise improves the production of enzymes that move LDL from the walls of the blood vessels and from the blood, to the liver. Liver has the ability to convert the cholesterol into bile or to excrete it from the system.

Exercise also enlarges the particles of protein that binds with cholesterol to form lipoproteins like LDL. Small LDL particles are more dangerous than the big ones as they can hide in tight spaces like heart lining and small blood vessels, build cholesterol plaque and cause blockage, leading to heart attack.

Another study found that extensive exercise increases the production of ” Ëœgood” â„¢ cholesterol, or HDL (high density lipoprotein). HDL has the ability to remove LDL cholesterol plaque from the arterial walls, and to carry it to the liver to be processed or eliminated from the body. So, while exercise does not lower ” Ëœbad” â„¢ cholesterol itself, it does the next best thing: boosts up your ” Ëœgood” â„¢ cholesterol, the enemy of ” Ëœbad” â„¢ cholesterol.

How much exercise?

Scientists do not agree on the amount of exercise needed to lower the LDL, or better say to increase your HDL, but they believe that the more the better, as long as your health permits it. The kind of exercise that works best is a healthy mix, the kind that you enjoy most. The commonly recommended half hour every day five days a week works for cholesterol as much as for all other parts of our system. Anything works: walking your dog, climbing stairs, biking or swimming. The traditional recommendation to get your heart to beat faster does not apply when it comes to cholesterol. Any exercise is effective, as long as it is regular and at least half hour in one day. Of course, if you have to lose some weight, you will have to increase the amount of your exercise.

Don”t forget that exercise is only one part of what you have to do to keep your cholesterol in check. Diet rich in fruits and vegetables and foods that boost ” Ëœgood” â„¢ cholesterol are even more important. If your genetics make you predisposed to high cholesterol, the change in your diet and exercise regime might not be enough. Talk to your doctor and let him prescribe medication that will keep your cholesterol under control and your heart out of danger of cholesterol plaque.


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