Cholesterol and Exercise

Cholesterol is a fat that is produced by the liver as well as in food consumed from animal sources. There are three forms of cholesterol called high density lipoproteins (HDH / “good” cholesterol), low density lipoproteins (LDL / “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides (stored / “ugly” cholesterol). LDL cholesterol is the type that clogs up blood vessels and causes problems. HDL cholesterol “picks up” the other cholesterols and transports them back to the liver where they are converted into waste product and excreted, keeping cholesterol levels in check.

High cholesterol is one of the major causes of heart disease. When you have high cholesterol your arteries become blocked with fatty deposits and your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. High cholesterol is generally caused by an unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise. You can have high cholesterol without feeling any symptoms so it’s important to get it checked by your doctor with a simple blood test.

To bring your cholesterol levels down you may need to make some changes to your lifestyle, such as eating a healthier diet, exercising, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake.

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your cholesterol levels. Research shows that exercising for half an hour, at least three times a week over an eight week period can increase your HDL (“good”) cholesterol by up to 10% and lower your triglyceride (stored cholesterol) levels.