ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Regular Exercise Can Prevent High Cholesterol Levels

Updated on July 25, 2017

Many of us have heard that exercise lowers cholesterol levels in the body. Exercise programs such as walking, jogging, and aerobics have been encouraged as a means to reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides while elevating the "good" high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).

Several studies have been conducted with healthy individuals to measure the effect of increased physical activity on serum lipoprotein concentrations. The results of these studies have been mixed.

Cholesterol travels in the blood in packages called lipoproteins, which consist of lipids (fats) and protein.

The following are basic types of cholesterol in the body:

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also called bad cholesterol, causes aging of the arteries. A desirable level of LDL-C is below 130 mg/dl, with an optimal level of 100 mg/dl or less.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL), also called good cholesterol, prevents aging of the arteries by taking the bad cholesterol from bloodstream back to the liver and out of the body as waste products. Only one-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. When HDL-C levels are above 60 mg/dl the risk of heart disease is decreased. HDL-C levels below 35 mg/dl are considered undesirable.
  • Very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) transports triglycerides in the blood; high levels of VLDL and triglycerides have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. There is no simple, direct way of measuring VLDL cholesterol. Since VLDL-C contains most of the circulating triglyceride, it is possible to estimate the amount of VLDL-C based on the triglyceride value. To estimate VLDL-C, divide the triglyceride value by 5 if the value is in mg/dL or divide by 2.2 if the value is in mmol/L. However, the calculation is not valid, when the triglyceride level is greater than 400 mg/dl (4.5 mmol/L) because other lipoproteins are usually present. Triglycerides testing most often requires that the patient fast overnight before sample collection. Normal VLDL cholesterol level is between 2 and 30 mg/dL.
  • Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body; they store excess energy from the diet. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL-C cholesterol or high LDL-C cholesterol is linked with fatty buildups in artery walls. This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Exercise and Cholesterol –

The following is the association between exercise and cholesterol:

Regular exercise has the greatest effect on triglycerides and HDL, the good cholesterol. It lowers triglycerides and increases HDL-C. Consistent regular exercise can lower triglycerides by 30% to 40% and boost HDL-C by 5 to 8 mg/dL. Lower triglycerides and higher HDL-C levels are both important to heart health.

Exercise does not have much impact on LDL-C unless it is combined with changes in diet and weight loss.

When LDL-C levels are elevated, cholesterol begins to accumulate in vessel walls and restrict blood flow. LDL-C occupy all of the receptor sites located on the surfaces of almost all cells, allowing excess LDL-C molecules to circulate in the blood, whereby cholesterol is deposited in the vessel walls.

Regular exercise is involved in increasing the production and action of several enzymes that function to enhance the reverse cholesterol transport system. The precise mechanisms are unclear.

Although standard management of abnormal blood lipids is drug therapy and diet, it seems prudent to incorporate aerobic exercise as an important component of a healthy lifestyle. In certain individuals, drug therapy may be decreased in dosage or perhaps discontinued in the those who are “exercise trained,” especially if there is associated weight loss.

Effects of Different Types of Exercise on Total Cholesterol –

Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is recommended as a starting point for those who have previously been sedentary or are new to exercise. High-intensity exercise has been shown to be no more effective than moderate-intensity exercise.

Resistance training presents an effective intervention independently. The addition of resistance training to aerobic exercise will supplement and possibly enhance the effects on the lipid profile, although there is limited literature comparing the three modes of exercise. Some combination protocols have been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol, whereas others have not.

Clinicians should encourage as much physical activity as possible while, where feasible, highlighting the additional impact or appropriateness of aerobic exercise, resistance training or both to obtain optimal benefits in their patients.

Exercise Prescription for High Cholesterol Levels -

Aerobic exercise should be the base of the exercise prescription program. Resistance training and flexibility programs should also be included in the plan because they present positive outcomes to the patient.

Aerobic Exercise - The recommended time for aerobic exercise is set at between 30-60 minutes, at the moderate intensity at least 5 days per week. The daily recommendations can be split up, meaning that the individual can perform the daily 60 minutes in several different sessions, and still see improvements in blood lipid profile.

Resistance Training - It will elicit positive results in target areas such as maintenance of lean body mass. However, it may or may not have any effect on blood lipid profile. It should be performed 2 to 3 days a week with 8 to 10 different exercises of one set or more of 8 to 15 reps with different weights. This training should be used in conjunction with aerobic exercise to improve overall fitness and health.

Other Training Styles - There are other training styles that do have positive effects on cholesterol levels. For example, Tai Chi has been shown to produce a reduction in triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL levels. Patients may also partake in sports such as soccer or swimming, which predominantly use the aerobic system over extended periods of time, which will benefit the patient.

The Bottom Line –

Several studies have shown that regular physical exercise has a positive effect on different types of cholesterol in the body. Although standard management of abnormal blood lipids is drug therapy and diet, the clinicians should encourage their patients to take as much physical activity as possible. They should help patients in planning a well structured exercise schedule that should include aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching exercises.

References -

  • Impact of exercise on blood lipids and lipoproteins:

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacl.2007.05.006

  • Sports Med

DOI 10.1007/s40279-013-0110-5

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      11 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for appreciating my hub.

      Regular exercise also has many benefits besides managing type-2 diabetes.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      11 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I enjoy walking and make this a regular part of my goal to control diabetes. Along with diet (vegetarian) I was recently taken off of metformin and control my type 2 diabetes now with a change in my lifestyle. Thanks for this informative hub.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      12 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Dana for your comments.

      Yes, oatmeal helps lower high blood cholesterol as it is rich in fibers.

      Add a regular exercise program to your daily routine. If you have been physically inactive for long, get an OK from your doctor before starting.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      12 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      High Cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease runs in my family. I have been trying to be more conscience about my health. Lately, I have been eating oatmeal along with fruit for breakfast. I heard oatmeal is good for high cholesterol. Is this so?

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      12 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Louise for your comments.

      I am a big advocate of regular exercise. Continue to enjoy doing it regularly!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      12 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes, regular exercise is very good for the body. I walk and cycle a lot which I enjoy doing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)