Elevated cholesterol level is a commonly encountered lifestyle disorder. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that circulates in our blood which has the ability to stick to the inner walls of the arteries causing them to narrow. This in turn increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders. In order to manage this, apart from medications and diet, exercises too play an important role. This article deals with the best exercise for cholesterol.
Besides, the amount of cholesterol in the blood vessel, the type of protein that carries this cholesterol throughout the body plays a vital role in development or improvement of the condition. Increased levels of LDL or low density lipoprotein are likely to cause more harm to the body than HDL or high density lipoprotein. HDL protects the blood vessels from cholesterol accumulation. However, regular physical exercises have shown great effects in managing cholesterol, hence it is important to know the best exercises for cholesterol.
What is the Best Exercises for Cholesterol?
Increased physical activities or regular exercises play an active role in controlling cholesterol. Exercise helps in elevating the level of HDL which in turn brings downs the cholesterol level. Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly have significantly high levels of HDL as compared with women who lead a sedentary lifestyle. It has been noted that exercise also helps in lowering cholesterol levels in overweight individuals. Studies also show that individuals, who jogged, cycled, walked or did other forms of exercise regularly along with a low-cholesterol diet have an improved level of cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels.
Studies and researches have shown that more than the type of exercise the duration of the exercise is more important. It addition to structured exercises, staying physically active throughout the day can play a vital role in controlling cholesterol. Simple lifestyle changes such as going for a brisk walk during lunch break, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, choosing to walk instead of driving etc. can have massive impact in controlling cholesterol levels. It is recommended to incorporate at least 30 minutes of structured exercise in everyday schedule.
Though, it is believed that some form of exercise is better than none, the following are considered as the best exercises for cholesterol.
Light Running or Jogging:
Jogging and light running is an excellent form of exercise for lowering cholesterol level. It also helps in weight management. This form of exercise can be either an easy jog for a few miles or it may be a fast sprint around the neighboring block. A research report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine 2013 showed that there is greater improvement in HDL cholesterol in long distance runners than in short distance runners. This form of exercise also showed significant improvement in blood pressure and other cardiovascular disorders.
Brisk Walking-One of the Best Exercise for Lowering Cholesterol:
With aging, jogging and running may be restricted due to physical conditions such as joint issues. In such circumstances, walking is one of the best exercises for cholesterol. As seen with jogging and running, brisk walking showed similar benefits which include lowering cholesterol level, weight management, improved blood pressure level etc. Either ways, if we have managed to burn about 300 calories, the net effect of either exercise is the same.
Bike Riding or Cycling:
It is seen that cycling requires same energy as jogging but more comfortable on the joints. Thus, it is often a choice of exercise with increase in age and one of the best exercises for cholesterol lowering. Cycling can be done indoor using a stationary bike or it can be done outdoor with an actual cycle. Cycling can also be incorporated in daily activities by switching to cycling instead of driving while going to work or other places. Studies have shown that individuals who did regular cycling report lesser cases of heart attacks and other heart issues.
Swimming- As another Best Exercise for Lowering Cholesterol:
Compared to all other forms of exercising, swimming is probably the most joint friendly exercise. Swimming is known to improve LDL levels, increase HDL levels, manage weight better, help with body fat distribution etc. Thus it is undoubtedly the best exercise for cholesterol management. Swimming provides a complete exercise to the entire body. In addition to the benefits to the heart, it also helps in providing overall relaxation and boosts the mood.
Some physicians recommend resistance training in addition to the above mentioned aerobic exercises. Weight training helps in clearing LDL from the circulatory system much faster than other forms exercises. It protects the heart and circulatory system. Aerobic exercises along with resistance training help in losing weight and fat faster than if either of the exercises is done alone. Resistance training is great for cholesterol control and can be done by any age group provided it is done under the supervision of a professional.
Yoga as a Best Exercise for Lowering Cholesterol:
Yoga is known to reduce cholesterol level and to reduce the risk of developing other cardiac issues. It is beneficial to the body as well as the mind. It is generally advised to practice yoga for at least 1 hour every day for actual benefit.
In any circumstances, it is advised to consult an experienced physician before indulging in any form of exercises.
Any form of exercise is beneficial for health (including for lowering cholesterol level) if done on a regular basis. Some exercises are particularly more effective and considered as best exercise for cholesterol management. The form of exercise can be decided based on the overall health status, joint issues and lifestyle. Other forms of exercises that can be considered in addition to the earlier mentioned exercises includes dancing, Zumba, aerobics, Pilates, playing sports like tennis, squash, cricket etc. It is important to get about 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise everyday with resistance training 2 times a week. However, it is important to consult a doctor before indulging in any form on exercise especially if there are other underlying medical issues.
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