The two main types of cholesterol in human body are low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. While good cholesterol is important for proper function of our body such as digesting fatty foods and making vitamins and hormones, high levels of LDL cholesterol can result in serious health issues, especially cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. What makes things worse is that high cholesterol has no symptoms. According to the CDC, 71 million American adults have high LDL cholesterol, yet fewer than half get treatment, perhaps because they have no symptoms. Each year, the month of September is observed as National Cholesterol Education Awareness Month.
Regular exercise and making other lifestyle changes such as improving diet and quitting smoking can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week is enough to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure.
Overweight is the main reason for high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in blood. In addition to a proper diet, exercise is a key strategy to maintain weight and lower cholesterol levels. Staying physically active also helps to boost energy levels, improve mental health, and build muscle and bone strength.
Here are 4 top exercise options to lower bad cholesterol:
- Brisk Walk or Running
Walking regularly or a brisk walk for 30-minutes three times a week keeps you fit and healthy and helps raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Regular running also helps you lose weight and improve mental health. Walking and running also strengthens the muscles, increases range of motion, improves balance and prevents falls.
- Resistance Training
Studies have proven that resistance or weight training exercises such as pushups, stomach crunches, weightlifting, chest presses and squats can reduce total cholesterol and increase muscle strength. Weight lifting exercises also burn fat, build muscles, and tone the body.
Cycling is another effective way of lowering LDL cholesterol levels. According to Medicinenet, with high speed and intensity, one can burn up to 500 calories during a 30-minute cycling workout. Biking is also recommended for those experiencing joint pain.
Swimming, water games and other water exercises also produce similar results in your cholesterol profile as other aerobic exercises and are kind to your joints as well. Swimming keeps all the muscles in your body active and can improve your general strength.
Swimming for 30 minutes can reduce dangerous cholesterols and can boost your metabolism. It also helps prevent lower blood pressure risks. A 2015 study was published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that, in middle-aged women, 12 weeks of regular swimming exercise resulted in a significant drop in total cholesterol and an increase in HDL-C, dramatically lowering their risk of cardiovascular disease.
SWIMMING – THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT AND INCREASE FITNESS
Team sports, such as basketball, football, or soccer also help in lowering cholesterol and improving general health. Make sure to keep your cholesterol levels in check to prevent heart disease and other serious health conditions.