Does Exercise Lower Cholesterol?

cholesterolIf you have already made adjustments to your diet, and you didn’t see much of a change in your cholesterol levels, perhaps you are wondering – does exercise lower cholesterol?

While adding more green leafy vegetables, reducing red meat consumption and adding Omega 3s are all helpful in reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol, it is often wise to increase your activity levels if you are mostly sedentary. There are many exercises that you can add to your daily or weekly routine to start to drop your cholesterol numbers.

The reason exercising helps lower your cholesterol is because when you’re overweight, the body tends to make more low-density lipoproteins. These LDLs can can act like a sludgy glue and coat the insides of the arteries, making it more difficult for the blood to flow.

Although you can lose weight by dieting alone, it is much more likely that you’ll maintain a healthy body weight if you add exercise. Moving at least 30 minutes a day every day can help you to burn more calories, but there are a host of other reasons to exercise too, such as the simple aesthetic pleasure of being fit and toned, increased energy levels, better mental performance and elevated mood.

Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery.

Here is a list of the things you can choose from to add more movement to your life, and start to lower that LDL cholesterol right away:

  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Jump rope
  • Walk with a friend
  • Take the stairs
  • Do yoga
  • Weight lift
  • Run 5ks and raise money for worthy causes
  • Ski
  • Bowl
  • Skate
  • Skateboard
  • Surf
  • Wind surf
  • Work in your garden
  • Bicycle
  • Walk to nearby errands instead of driving
  • Plyometrics
  • Snowboard
  • Horse riding
  • Hike in the mountains

Not only will you lose weight, but exercise also stimulates special enzymes that act to lower LDL cholesterol by extracting it from blood vessel walls and sending it to the liver for it to convert it to bile, which our bodies use to help us in digesting our food and discarding food we don’t need. Exercise has also been shown to increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

Exercise as much as you can as often as you can, and chances are you’ll see your cholesterol levels lower.


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