Exercise is one of the two most important factors when it comes to managing your cholesterol. Here are 6 different types of exercise that are perfect for any lifestyle.
When it comes to lowering your cholesterol, diet and exercise strategies are the two most powerful ways to get where you need to be. If you have high cholesterol, implementing a strict exercise regimen is great way to get your numbers down naturally. This will dramatically decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions, aside from making you feel happier and healthier all around.
The aim of exercise is to lower low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol), lower triglycerides, and raise high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol). Studies suggest that a combination of aerobic exercise (cardio) and resistance training is the best way to lower cholesterol.
But how much do you need to do for exercise to be effective? As a general rule, most healthcare organisations suggest a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. This may be different if you present risk factors for cardiovascular disease or if you have very high cholesterol. What kind of exercise, you may ask? Let’s take a look.
Walking, Jogging or Running
Let’s start with the most simple: walking, jogging and running. These are all great ways to help manage high cholesterol, and are a fantastic option for anyone whose joints are in good shape. You can walk, run or jog anywhere, anytime, with almost unlimited freedom. The key is prolonged exertion. Studies have shown that prolonged, moderate jogging or brisk walking is more effective at lowering cholesterol than sprinting. It is also better for your blood pressure.
No matter what you do though, it’s all about the amount of calories you burn and the amount of energy you exert. Ensure that the exercise you are doing is getting your heart rate up and engaging large muscle groups. It is also important to incorporate this mentality into your day-to-day life: walk everywhere you can; go hiking on the weekends; use the stairs, not the elevator – make exercise part of your lifestyle.
Walking, jogging or running isn’t for everyone. You may have bad joints, or you might live somewhere that makes it unfeasible (such as as CBD). Or you simply might not care for it. When it comes to doing exercise to help lower cholesterol, it is all about doing what you enjoy most. This is the best way to ensure consistency.
Swimming is an excellent option if walking, jogging or running isn’t up your alley. It is a great option if you have bad joints. Studies have even shown that it can be more effective for lowering cholesterol than walking or running, particularly in older women and men. If you live near a pool or the beach, try swimming a few times a few week to break up the monotony of walking, jogging or running.
Push-ups, Sit-ups and Lifting Weights
The best way to help manage high cholesterol is to combine aerobic exercise, like jogging or swimming, with resistance training. Also known as strength training, resistance training uses weights or your own bodyweight to engage large muscle groups. The AHA recommends doing this at least twice a week to help lower cholesterol and for overall heart health.
When it comes to weight training, the key is more repetitions, not lifting heavy weights. Doing push-ups and sit-ups is an easy and effective way to engage your core and arms. Work towards being able to do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. And be sure to allow at least 24 hours rest between sessions to allow your muscles to recover.
Yoga is a little different, as it isn’t an aerobic exercise, and while is does engage your muscles it isn’t classified as resistance training. That being said, it is an effective way to help manage cholesterol, and is another great option to break up the monotony of aerobic activities like jogging or swimming.
Studies have shown that doing an hour of yoga once a day can help reduce LDL cholesterol, and improve HDL cholesterol levels in diabetics. It can also help lower blood pressure.
Do you live far enough from work that you need to get public transport, but not so far that cycling is out of the question?
Riding a bike to work is a great way to burn calories when you might otherwise be sedentary. It uses about the same amount of energy as jogging does, and it is very easy to incorporate into your daily routine, particularly if you have a busy schedule. Studies have shown that those who ride a bike to work are less likely to have high cholesterol than those who do not. Even riding to work just two or three times a week, as a part of your exercise routine, can have fantastic benefits for your cholesterol levels.
Hobbies As Exercise
All of above are excellent options for incorporating exercise into your weekly schedule. They are simple and easy to achieve. But when it comes to lowering your cholesterol, the key is to make it enjoyable.
The point is to get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day, every week. If you have any hobbies that fall under this category, then by all means include them into your weekly exercise routine. Tennis, golf, dancing, self defence training, rowing, surfing, touch football; all of these are great ways to burn calories while having fun. Many are even likely to be more effective at lowering cholesterol than brisk walking or jogging. It’s all about consistency. Keep up the hard work, and exercise towards lower cholesterol and better cardiovascular health.
If you have high cholesterol, you may choose to take complementary medicine in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. They can help increase HDL and lower LDL, as well as reduce the oxidation of LDL-c. For more information on complementary medicine for lowering cholesterol, click here.