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How Much Exercise Does It Take To Lower Cholesterol?


The most effective way to ensure a healthy cholesterol level is to modify your diet and, if need be, take cholesterol-lowering medications. Training Find a Plan All Access: According to Kraus's findings, however, even though moderate exercise was not as effective in reducing LDL or increasing HDL, it did keep cholesterol levels from rising. But how does it work? But recent studies have more carefully examined the effect of exercise alone, making it easier to evaluate the relationship between exercise and cholesterol.

The Exercise-Cholesterol Link


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But how does it work? And what type of exercise is most effective? Researchers aren't entirely sure how exercise lowers cholesterol , but they are beginning to have a clearer idea. One way exercise can help lower cholesterol is by helping you lose -- or maintain -- weight. Being overweight tends to increase the amount of low-density lipoprotein LDL in your blood , the kind of lipoprotein that's been linked to heart disease.

Part of the confusion about the effect of exercise on cholesterol stems from the fact that most early cholesterol studies focused on both exercise and dietary changes, making it hard to tease out which of these factors was actually making the difference. But recent studies have more carefully examined the effect of exercise alone, making it easier to evaluate the relationship between exercise and cholesterol.

Researchers now believe there are several mechanisms involved. First, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood and blood-vessel walls to the liver.

From there, the cholesterol is converted into bile for digestion or excreted. So the more you exercise, the more LDL your body expels. Second, exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry cholesterol through the blood. The combination of protein particles and cholesterol are called "lipoproteins;" it's the LDLs that have been linked to heart disease.

Some of those particles are small and dense; some are big and fluffy. And what type of exercise is most effective? Researchers aren't entirely sure how exercise lowers cholesterol , but they are beginning to have a clearer idea.

One way exercise can help lower cholesterol is by helping you lose -- or maintain -- weight. Being overweight tends to increase the amount of low-density lipoprotein LDL in your blood , the kind of lipoprotein that's been linked to heart disease. Part of the confusion about the effect of exercise on cholesterol stems from the fact that most early cholesterol studies focused on both exercise and dietary changes, making it hard to tease out which of these factors was actually making the difference.

But recent studies have more carefully examined the effect of exercise alone, making it easier to evaluate the relationship between exercise and cholesterol. Researchers now believe there are several mechanisms involved. First, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood and blood-vessel walls to the liver. From there, the cholesterol is converted into bile for digestion or excreted.

So the more you exercise, the more LDL your body expels. Second, exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry cholesterol through the blood. The combination of protein particles and cholesterol are called "lipoproteins;" it's the LDLs that have been linked to heart disease. Some of those particles are small and dense; some are big and fluffy.

Exactly how much exercise is needed to lower cholesterol has been a matter of some debate.