If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are living with higher-than-ideal cholesterol levels, and it’s putting them at serious risk of heart disease. This silver lining is that doctors have figured out how to treat it effectively. Exercise, along with a few other key changes, can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising the good one (HDL), but getting started can be daunting.
Exercise in any form is better than none at all. However, many activities and routines can specifically address lowering cholesterol. High cholesterol, after all, can lead to serious health issues and increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, so doing something instead of nothing will significantly improve your chances of gaining back your health. Research shows that combining cardio and resistance training is the best way to lower cholesterol and these exercises can be finely tuned to do just that.
If you’re just beginning on your exercise journey, walking is one of the best ways to get in steps and get your heart pumping. For those who are overweight and obese, walking is low intensity and can be slowly incorporated into your lifestyle. You may not walk far the first time you get out, but by building up your cardiovascular strength with regular trips out, you’ll be walking distances you never had before and lowering your cholesterol at the same time.
If you’re suffering from high cholesterol, odds are you haven’t kept a regular workout routine for some time. Thankfully, cycling can offer low-impact exercising, which is safe on your joints, especially if they’re a bit stiff. Like walking, cycling can be started with a low intensity but can be built up to a moderate level over time. If you feel you can go farther or faster, it’s up to you, keeping in mind your limitations.
If cycling sounds right for you due to its ease on joints, swimming may be right up your alley. Aerobic exercise on solid ground may be too much for beginners, but water aerobics provides a comfortable and gentle workout. Combining cardio with a bit of resistance (the perfect pairing for lowering cholesterol), it’s an excellent choice for those just getting started.
Once you’re familiar with your level of fitness and looking for more of a challenge, hiking offers increased resistance compared to simple walking. Not only are you getting your heart pumping, but the effort of hiking uphill can begin to build muscle and create beneficial resistance that will help to strengthen arteries. Keeping your arteries and veins resilient means improved blood flow and the ability of blood vessels to expand and dilate.
Your Favourite Sport
Sports are a great way to have fun with fitness. Rather than just performing one form of exercise, sports allow for a full body workout and can be an excellent way to lower stress. They can also be tailored to meet your needs, too. For example, doubles tennis is a great way to be active with a friend, but once you’ve built up your fitness, you may want to try singles tennis—it’s more demanding and requires more running and agility which can help expedite your positive health.
Exercise is an effective way to lower cholesterol, but it can’t be done alone. Together with a healthy diet and, in some cases, medication, exercise can be the stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle and one with ideal cholesterol levels. These aren’t the only exercises, either. By trying new activities or sports, you can find what works best for achieving your personal health goals and lifestyle.