Exercise and Cholesterol
Written by: Emma Anius
Cholesterol is a form of fat that is produced by the liver and is imperative for normal body function. Normal levels of cholesterol are good for the body as it is responsible for determining which molecules can pass into the cell and which cannot, it builds healthy cells, the production of sex hormones
(androgens and estrogens); aids in the production of bile, converts sunshine into vitamin D, and has several other uses.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. There are 2 types of lipoproteins associated with cholesterol; low-density lipoproteins (LDL) also known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol and high-density lipoproteins (LDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol.
LDL can increase the risk of arterial disease as it carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells. If too much cholesterol is carried to the cells it can lead to a harmful buildup of LDL. HDL does the opposite of LDL – it takes the cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver where it is either broken down or expelled from the body as waste.
Although cholesterol is essential for normal body function, having high cholesterol is very dangerous as it is directly related to developing diabetes mellitus, stroke, coronary heart disease and hypertension, which are the 4 main causes of death in St. Lucia. High cholesterol can be inherited, but is often preventable and treatable by implementing a healthy diet and a regular exercise program.
When you have high cholesterol this leads to fatty deposits being left in your blood vessels. The fatty deposits make it difficult for sufficient blood to flow through your arteries, which leads to your heart not receiving as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs. When your heart doesn’t receive as much oxygen as it needs it can result in a heart attack, a decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.
There are several risk factors associated with high cholesterol such as your diet, level of physical activity, your weight, age and gender. Exercise has a huge impact on cholesterol levels, studies have shown that regular exercise has the ability to lower LDL levels 10 percent, and raise HDL levels by 6 percent.
Exercise helps promote weight loss which is one of the risk factors associated with developing high cholesterol- losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds (about 2 to 5 kilograms) can help reduce cholesterol levels. The recommended guidelines to reduce cholesterol levels are at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, most days of the week. Studies have shown that aerobic activities such as swimming, running, and jogging lower cholesterol, levels even activities like yoga and walking play a role in lowering cholesterol too. No matter what form of exercise you decide to take part in, consistency is the key, the longer you take part in the activity the greater the benefits and the longer they last.
Looking after your body is the key to healthy living.
If you have any concerns and want to check your cholesterol levels then please contact your doctor.
If you have no time to exercise or don’t know where to begin:
Push up x 10, adductor lift x 10, side raise x 10, front raise x 10, medicine ball twists x 30
Push up x 20, adductor lift x 20, side raise x 15, front raise x 15, medicine ball twists x 50
- For help with the exercises go to www.facebook.com/cyanfitness and view the photos
Note: Emma Anius is a Personal Trainer for Cyan Fitness promoting a ‘healthy life and a better you.’