You've heard it before. Exercise is one of the most effective lifestyle changes that you can make, to naturally support your cholesterol numbers.
For many, incorporating exercise into your daily routine may sound daunting or intimidating, and your first thought may be "I hate running."
Although running or jogging provides excellent aerobic exercise, rest assured there are plenty of alternative and low stress exercises that you can incorporate into your day, to help counteract the negative effects that high cholesterol has on you and your health.
Research has shown that rather than the types of exercise you do, the amount of exercise is more important for lowering cholesterol, which means it's worth incorporating a larger amount of smaller activities into your day however you can, instead of stressing over setting aside a large block of time for strenuous activity.
Whatever physical activities you enjoy most will benefit your overall health, as long as you are performing activities throughout your day consistently. Below is a list of some of the best exercises for effectively lowering your cholesterol levels.
Best exercises for lowering cholesterol
Go for a run or jog
Jogging and running is a great exercise for managing weight, and for lowering cholesterol. in 2013, a study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reporting that long-distance runners showed significantly better improvements in their HDL cholesterol levels and in their blood pressure than short-distance runners. An easy jog for a few miles may be better for lowering cholesterol than a fast sprint.
Take a walk
Though taking a walk does not burn as many calories as fast as taking a run or jog would, walking has proven a very effective exercise that can yield the same health benefits as running. For those who might need to pay special attention to their joints, taking a walk is a great alternative exercise that helps to reduce the risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Ride a bike
Similar to jogging, biking takes the same amount of energy, but is much less harsh on your joints. As people age, hips, knees, and other joints are vulnerable to arthritis, and being careful of these risks is vitally important when choosing an exercise activity.
Swim a few laps
At the top of the list of aerobic activities, swimming is one of the most joint-saving exercises you can do. Researchers have found that swimming improves body weight, body fat distribution, and LDL cholesterol levels better than walking.
Do some light weight lifting
Resistance training has been shown extremely beneficial for those with high cholesterol, and can also help you protect your cardiovascular health. Combining resistance and aerobic exercise may help people lose more weight and fat than either when done alone.
Studies have shown that yoga may reduce the risk of heart disease and in some cases may directly affect cholesterol levels. In a large study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, participants who regularly practice yoga showed significant improvements in LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure over those who didn't exercise.
Any exercise will do – if you do it often
Most of the exercises discussed in this blog are centered around aerobic activities, as these are the most recommended exercises to improve cardiovascular health. Though each exercise listed is helpful for reducing cholesterol and protecting you from cardiovascular disease, you can choose which is best for you based on your overall health, joint health, and lifestyle.