Does Exercise Lower Cholesterol?

Exercise is good for your health. It helps improve your heart fitness and strengthens your muscles and bones. It can also help you take care of your mental wellbeing. Additionally, exercise is beneficial for preventing and managing health conditions. That includes obesity, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

But the question is: does exercise lower cholesterol levels?

Types Of Cholesterol

Before we talk about exercise, let's talk about cholesterol first. There are two main types of cholesterol:

HDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol type. It helps remove excess cholesterol from your body.

LDL Cholesterol

Low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol type. It can build up in your arteries and cause them to narrow. That may lead to heart disease.

The Relationship Between Exercise And Cholesterol

So, does exercise lower cholesterol? Yes, but only if you already have high cholesterol levels. If you have normal or low cholesterol levels, exercise isn't going to have a significant impact.

That being said, if you have high cholesterol levels, physical activity can help lower them. One study looked at people who exercised for 30 minutes a day for six months. They were able to lower their LDL cholesterol levels by 8%.

Exercise works to lower cholesterol levels by increasing the size of your HDL particles. A good exercise program also helps your liver get rid of LDL cholesterol.

Exercises To Lower Cholesterol Levels

Do you want to lower your cholesterol with exercise? Certain types of exercises are more effective than others.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is any type of activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, running, cycling, and swimming.

Strength Training

Strength or resistance training is another type of exercise that can help lower cholesterol. It includes activities such as lifting weights and using resistance bands.

Lifestyle Changes For Lowering Cholesterol

Aside from exercise, other lifestyle changes can help lower your cholesterol levels.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol.

Eat A Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is another lifestyle change you can make to help lower your cholesterol levels. A healthy diet includes foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods are high in unhealthy saturated and trans fats, which can raise your cholesterol. Instead of processed foods, focus on eating whole foods.

Reduce Stress Levels

Stress can also impact your cholesterol levels. If you're regularly stressed, find ways to reduce your stress levels. That could include things like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for overall health, including heart health. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

These lifestyle changes, combined with exercise, can help lower your cholesterol.

To Wrap Up

Exercise can help lower cholesterol, but it's not going to have a major impact on its own. You have to make other healthy lifestyle changes. Consider eating a healthy diet and quitting smoking.

If you have high cholesterol levels, make sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to lower them.

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