An effective way to naturally lower cholesterol is through exercise. Exercise is known to help considerably with weight loss, and many overweight people typically have excess LDL cholesterol levels. Exercise also has the effect of promoting circulation which helps to clear deposits that may have built up in the blood vessels. Research has also shown that exercise can increase the level of HDL (the good cholesterol) in the body.
There seems no doubt in the research and studies that have been done on cholesterol that regular physical activity can favorably influence cholesterol metabolism in the body. How this works is not understood and there seems to be varying opinions. However it appears that physical activity triggers a number of factors that together exert this influence. These factors include increased production and action of enzymes, reduction in body fat, loss of weight, and increases in hormone production and activity.
How much physical activity or exercise is necessary to promote healthier cholesterol levels? There have been several research studies done to try and reach an answer to this question. Focus has been on the volume of exercise; the intensity of exercise; the frequency of exercise; whether there may be a threshold to reach before any positive influence on cholesterol levels can be obtained; and also whether there may be differences in men and women. Although consensus of opinion is not reached among all researchers, as is to be expected with much research, there does seem to be a clear correlation between exercise and managing cholesterol levels.
Many of the studies point to the conclusion that in men intensity of exercise is quite beneficial in raising HDL (the good cholesterol). Although in women this conclusion is not necessarily the case. Other conclusions are that the benefits do differ not only between genders but also on an individual basis as a result of exercise frequency and intensity. As with all exercise it is wise to consult your health professional prior to embarking on a new program, and in any case an exercise program should always be formulated based on your own health and fitness level.
Bear in mind that you don’t have to be a marathon runner to get benefit from exercise. Simple activities such as walking and swimming are also good at improving circulation. Virtually any activity can be beneficial, even gardening, housework and climbing stairs. Obviously the more activity you can have the better it will be. Most health departments across the world recommend a minimum of at least 20 minutes per day at least 5 days per week of moderate exercise.
Exercise has an impact not only to naturally lower cholesterol through influencing cholesterol levels, but also on general health. Also bear in mind that for overall health and vitality it is wise to focus on a complete exercise program which takes into account the following four areas:
- Aerobic exercises – have the effect of increasing your heart rate and breathing which will over time bring improvements to your circulatory system, and the health of your heart and lungs
- Strength training – essentially builds and maintains muscle bulk and is very beneficial for proper metabolism, mental health and hormonal system
- Stretching – maintains and also improves your flexibility reducing your risk of muscle strain, and benefiting overall movement
- Balance – reduces your risk of injury as a result of falls from loss of balance
Our body is designed to be active and to move. Exercise really is something we all need to support our state of health, and is one of the components you should seriously consider in your program to naturally lower cholesterol levels and keep them under control.