When you’re first diagnosed with high cholesterol, your physician may have talked to you about the workout. Besides boosting your diet, exercising is among the best lifestyle changes you can make to help bring your numbers down naturally.
Your first idea may have been, “I despise running.” Or perhaps you enjoy jogging, but you have been sidelined lately due to an injury. Or maybe you don’t mind jogging, but you hate the treadmill.
Running is not the only way to turn your well-being around. There’s no doubt that it’s an effective aerobic workout, but several other great options are available that could help counteract the negative effects high cholesterol has on your health.
Why Exercise is effective at reducing cholesterol
Cholesterol is one of the fatty substances we’ve circulating in our blood. When we have too much, it may stick to the interior walls of our arteries, narrowing them and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s not just the amount of cholesterol from the blood that affects our hazard, however. Other factors play a part. One of them is the kind of protein that carries cholesterol throughout the body. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is more likely to cause problems. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol protects the body from cholesterol buildup.
Exercise helps increase levels of HDL cholesterol. Researchers reported this in Lipids in Health and Disease. Physically active girls had significantly greater levels of HDL cholesterol compared to sedentary women. Another study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology discovered similar results. In men with belly fat, regular endurance exercise increased HDL good cholesterol levels.
Exercise might even alter the nature of your own cholesterol. In 2002, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that exercise improved the number and dimensions of these particles carrying cholesterol through the body. People who exercised more had larger, “fluffier” particles which were not as likely to clog blood vessels.
Exercise can help you reduce cholesterol numbers even when you’re overweight. In the Journal of Obesity, researchers noted that overweight and obese adults that walked, jogged, and cycled while eating a cholesterol-lowering diet improved total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and cholesterol levels.
Best exercises for lowering cholesterol
Some research has indicated that it may be that “how much” you exercise is much more important than what type of exercise that you do. That means it’s well worth it to incorporate more activity into your daily life however you can. Have a walk during your lunch hour, pick the stairs, stand up to take telephone calls, or keep a jump rope in your desk.
In addition, attempt to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into every day. Any exercise is better than none, however, the next six kinds have demonstrated in studies to be effective at reducing cholesterol levels.
1. Go for a nice run or run
If your joints are in great form and you like running, you’re in luck, since it is a superb exercise for lowering cholesterol and for handling your weight. Don’t believe you have to race, however. An easy jog for a few miles may be better for lowering cholesterol than a fast sprint around the cube.
At a 2013 study printed in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers reported that long-distance runners showed significantly greater improvements in HDL cholesterol levels compared to short-distance runners (less than 10 miles per week). They also saw greater improvements in their blood pressure.
2. Take a brisk walk
Whether walking is as good as running for cardiovascular health has long been the subject of debate. Especially as we get older, walking may often be a far better exercise concerning protecting joint health.
Researchers reported good news on this in 2013 in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. They compared tens of thousands of runners into an equivalent number of walkers. Results revealed that the amount of practice was what mattered, not just the type.
People who exerted the exact same level of electricity when exercising experienced similar benefits, whether they walked or ran. Benefits included reduced danger of elevated cholesterol and higher blood pressure.
It takes more time to burn calories compared to run them off. Should you burn 300 calories either way, though, you’ve spent about the same quantity of energy. You’re most likely to experience similar benefits. Lead author of the analysis above, Paul Williams, said that walking 4.3 miles at a lively pace would take about the same quantity of energy as running three miles.
3. Cycle to work or simply for fun
Cycling expends about precisely the same energy as running, but it’s easier on your joints. That’s a significant matter for many people as they age. Hips and knees are vulnerable to arthritis, and we all do need to watch out for them. If you’re starting to feel some pain in these joints, then it may be best to select biking overrunning.
If it’s possible to bike to work, try it. Studies have demonstrated some positive advantages. Researchers reported at the Journal of the American Heart Association that people who biked to work were less likely to create high cholesterol than those who did not.
Another study published in Circulation found that biking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. A set of adults between the ages of 50–65 who regularly spent time biking had 11–18 fewer heart attacks over the span of 20 years compared to those who didn’t.
4. Take a few laps in the pool
Swimming is probably the most joint-saving aerobic exercise you can do. In a 2010 research, researchers contrasted swimming with walking in women aged 50 to 70 years. They found that swimming improved body fat, body fat loss, and LDL cholesterol levels better than walking.
Researchers looked at the favorable effects of swimming in men in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education. They discovered that swimmers had 53 percent, 50 percent, and 49 percent lower chance of dying from any cause than did men who were sedentary, walkers, or runners, respectively.
5. Lift a few weights
Thus far, we have been talking largely about aerobic exercise. It’s the form of exercise most commonly suggested for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Some research suggests, though, that resistance training is also very beneficial for those with higher cholesterol. The journal Atherosclerosis published a study showing that those who engaged in resistance training managed to clear LDL in their bloodstream faster than people who did not.
Resistance training can also help you protect cardiovascular health. Back in BMC Public Health, scientists reported that combining aerobic and resistance exercise helped people lose more weight and fat than either of these alone. The combination also generated an increased cardiovascular fitness center.
Do not think you’re too old to try weight lifting. It assists individuals of any age. The Journals of Gerontology printed a study on women aged 70–87 decades. Individuals who participated in a resistance-training program for about 11 weeks had significantly lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in comparison with those who did not.
6. Strike a few yoga poses
After all this talk about aerobic exercise and lifting weights, it might appear odd that yoga could appear on the list. After all, yoga is mostly stretching, right?
Studies show, however, that yoga may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sometimes, it may directly have an effect on cholesterol levels.
Researchers reported at the Indian Heart Journal that a three-month yoga program helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Additionally, it improved HDL cholesterol levels. The participants practiced for approximately one hour a day.
In a large study review published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, those who practiced yoga revealed considerable progress in LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure over those who didn’t exercise.
Most any exercise will do — If you do it frequently
All of these exercises are helpful for decreasing cholesterol and protecting you from cardiovascular disease. You can choose which is ideal for you based on your general health, joint health, and lifestyle.
There are different choices, as well. If you play tennis or dance regularly, you’re inclined to be expending about the same energy as somebody who walks briskly or conducts. The main thing is to get in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day, together with resistance training two times a week. Then add more during your day as soon as you can. Wherever you are, get up and move!