Researchers now can identify exactly what types of physical activity benefit those with chronic conditions such as high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to a buildup of cholesterol within the arteries. Over time, these deposits can narrow the arteries and make blood passage more difficult.
By eating a healthy, balanced diet combined with enough physical activity, it is possible to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for greater complications.
How Does Physical Activity Benefit High Cholesterol?
Physical activity causes your high-density lipids (HDL) or “good” cholesterol to increase, as well as helping to lower your triglycerides. It also helps to control or even reduce your weight, which in turn aids with the balancing of your cholesterol levels. Exercising regularly burns calories, which improves your fitness level and your blood pressure, all of which helps to control blood cholesterol.
What Type of Exercise Is Best to Lower Cholesterol?
You don’t have to be a tri-athlete to get enough physical exercise to benefit from it. Moderate-intensity aerobic activities, if you do them regularly, can make a significant difference to your overall health. These include things like:
- Walking briskly (not race-walking)
- Water aerobics
- Bicycling slower than 10 mph
- Ballroom dancing
Of course, if you’re fit enough to go jogging that will also benefit your cholesterol, but be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new, strenuous exercise.
Take the Talk Test!
How do you know whether an exercise is moderate in intensity? Take the Talk Test! This means you should be able to talk (but not sing) during your physical activity. This offers you an easy way to judge whether you are exercising at a moderate intensity level or not.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
Start out doing a small amount of exercise in short sessions of between 5 and 10 minutes each. Remember, any amount is better than none, and it’s important not to overdo it.
Work your way up to around 150 minutes per week. That’s 2 ½ hours, which translates into 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
You’ll enjoy additional health benefits with greater amount of activity, but just by getting started you should see and feel the difference. Click here to learn more about healthy physical exercise for high cholesterol patients.
Before You Start
Patients with a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension should also get the approval of their primary care physician before starting any new form of physical activity. There may be aspects of your chosen exercise that don’t mix well with your condition, so don’t take any chances.
Living a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet combined with physical activity can help lower your cholesterol.
Download our free white paper on Understanding Cholesterol, or schedule a consultation at Lifestyle Medical Centers to find out exactly how to do it!