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Exercise and Cholesterol

Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol; it offers other health benefits as well. Studies show that just 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise three days a week can make a difference in preventing or controlling high cholesterol. Other research has shown that exercise can not only lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, it can also raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

Cholesterol and Exercise: An Overview

One of the best ways of lowering cholesterol is through exercise. Cholesterol research has shown that not only does exercise lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), it can also raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
In general, exercise has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL levels by 10 percent to 20 percent. The effects of LDL cholesterol lowering are greatest when exercise is combined with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.

What Is Exercise?

Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent or control high cholesterol. It also helps reduce your risk for heart disease.
It doesn't take a lot of effort to become physically active. All you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise on most days of the week. Examples of such activities are brisk walking, bicycling, raking leaves, and gardening.
Most people don't need to see a doctor before they start a moderate-level exercise program. However, you should check first with your doctor if you:
  • Have heart trouble or have had a heart attack
  • Are over age 50 and are not used to moderate-level physical activity
  • Have a family history of heart disease at an early age
  • Have any other serious health problem.
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