The more weight a person gains, the more his or her cholesterol level tends to rise. For cholesterol control, a doctor will normally recommend that an overweight person lose weight. In fact, just a little weight loss can decrease your cholesterol level by about 10 percent. Weight management is especially important for those with several risk factors, including high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels and being overweight with a large waist measurement (more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women).
Your healthcare provider will probably suggest both a low fat/low cholesterol diet and moderate exercise if you are overweight.
A moderate exercise program, such as taking a brisk walk 30 to 40 minutes a day on most, if not all, days, will help you keep your heart and blood vessels in shape and lower your cholesterol. Exercise will not only lower LDL, which is the "bad cholesterol," but it also will raise high density lipoproteins (HDL), which is the "good cholesterol." Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program.
(Click Exercise and Cholesterol for more information about how moderate levels of physical activity can help in lowering cholesterol.)
Quitting Smoking or Nicotine Use
Nicotine in cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco can make blood vessels narrow and can lower HDL.