Exercise and Cholesterol Go Hand in Hand
Understanding the relationship between cholesterol and exercise is important to living a long and healthy life.
What is Cholesterol?
To understand the relationship between exercise and cholesterol, we must first understand what cholesterol is and why we should care about it.
A cholesterol profile is passed down to you from your ancestors. Cholesterol is a fat that you get by eating fats or from your body overproducing it. However it comes about in your case, it eventually ends up in your blood.
A person's cholesterol profile can be used to predict heart disease, and as an indicator of a person's life span. When considering your cholesterol, you will need to take several numbers into account, then decide on what approach to use to improve them.
Low density lipoproteins (called LDL) and high density lipoproteins (called HDL) are the two parts to cholesterol. LDL are smaller particles, and are often referred to as the bad cholesterol. HDL, on the other hand, is the good cholesterol. It is known to help transport bad cholesterol out of the body, so it makes up for some of the bad cholesterol. The small particle LDL fat goes into the heart's arteries, causing plaque. As plaque builds up, the arteries become clogged. This leads to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Cholesterol Numbers: Rules of Thumb
Ideally, as general rule of thumb, total cholesterol should be less than 150, while anything over 200 is cause for concern. The LDL reading should be less than 100, and over 130 is of concern. HDL reading should be greater than 60, and any thing less than 40 is of concern.
Total cholesterol divided by HDL shows how much good cholesterol you have in order to negate the bad cholesterol. Four or lower is a good reading, with above 5 placing you at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Exercise and Cholesterol, Cholesterol and Exercise
Exercise can lower the total cholesterol, but only a small amount. That is the bad news. The good news is that exercise can dramatically alter the ratio of good to bad cholesterol. Exercise will not only lower the bad cholesterol, LDL, but is known to raise the good cholesterol, HDL. Once thought impossible, when combined with a healthy diet, exercise is thought to even reverse atherosclerosis and heart disease. In fact, after only a few months of exercise, your cholesterol profile can improve significantly.
What is the best part about the relationship between exercise and cholesterol? You do not need to train for a triathlon to get the benefits of exercise. Even small increases in exercise can help you reap the benefits of the cholesterol and exercise link. However, to get the full benefits of the cholesterol and exercise relationship, the CDC recommends 30 minutes of exercise at a moderate intensity.
Additionally, not only to exercise and cholesterol go hand and hand, exercise and weight loss go together as well. Therefore, you get not only the benefits of lowering you bad cholesterol, but you get all of the benefits associated with weight loss as well.
So, next time you are thinking of skipping your workout, remember the exercise and cholesterol connection, and get moving for a healthier, longer life!