Exercise increases blood circulation throughout your body, which keeps your heart strong as it pushes blood to circulate faster and fill with higher oxygen levels; this gets cholesterol to move out of your system. 30-minutes daily of vigorous, aerobic exercise or strength training will contribute to improved cholesterol levels (intense, rather than moderate exercise, shows the greatest improvements). Exercises such as weight lifting, jogging, cycling, Zumba, aerobic classes, swimming, very brisk or interval walking will help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. HDL (healthy) cholesterol is the good cholesterol which helps your body rid of the LDL cholesterol (lousy).
Don’t forget about exercises to reduce stress. Yoga is a powerful exercise to help reduce stress through mindfulness, breathing and stretching. Try to spend at least once a week or more practicing yoga or other mindful, meditation type exercises. For every one-point increase in healthy HDL cholesterol, you may just add one year to your life.
See your doctor for your cholesterol levels and work to stay within normal limits. Always seek a doctor’s approval for exercise when you have existing health limitations.
Carolyn Bell, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist, and she provides education for lowering and maintaining healthy, normal cholesterol levels.
Carolyn Bell, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist