High cholesterol risk: The eight best exercises to lower your cholesterol levels

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Nearly 40 percent of UK adults have high cholesterol, which means they have too much fatty substance in their blood. Diet is a huge part of lowering your cholesterol, but exercising more is really important too. Express.co.uk reveals the eight best exercises to lower your cholesterol levels.

If your cholesterol levels are too high, you need to make lifestyle changes to see them fall.

Cholesterol drops over time and you won’t see a quick change unless you take statins or other medicines that can reduce your cholesterol.

Alongside eating a healthy diet, exercise will help you to reduce your cholesterol.

The most obvious way to reduce your cholesterol is to eat fewer fatty foods containing LDL or bad cholesterol.

For example, you’ll need to eat fewer meat pies, sausages and fatty meat, cakes and biscuits, butter, cream, and foods containing coconut or palm oil.

You should also cut back on alcohol and quit smoking to reduce your cholesterol levels.

While exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand in the effort to reduce cholesterol, studies have shown that exercise alone can help.

It isn’t totally clear why exercise lowers cholesterol, but researchers have suggested several different reasons.

First of all, exercise helps you to lose or maintain weight, keeping obesity at bay.

Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol because being overweight increases the amount of low-density lipoprotein in your blood.

When you exercise, this stimulates enzymes that help to move LDL from the blood to the liver, where it is broken down for digestion or excreted.

Exercise also increases the size of the protein particles that carry good and bad cholesterol through the blood.

You can’t just do one workout and expect to see a reduction in your cholesterol levels.

WebMD suggests doing at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day, whereas the NHS specifies 150 minutes spread out over a week.

But what exercise works best for reducing cholesterol?

A 2002 study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that more intense exercise is actually better than moderate exercise for lowering cholesterol.

The study on overweight, sedentary people who did not change their diet found that those who did moderate exercise (the equivalent of 12 miles of walking or jogging per week) lowered their LDL level somewhat, but not as much as the people who did more vigorous exercise.

The people who exercised vigorously also raised their levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the kind of lipoprotein that actually helps clear cholesterol from the blood.

The eight best exercises to lower your cholesterol levels

Even though more vigorous exercise is best for reducing cholesterol, the NHS recommends trying a few different exercises to find something you like doing.

The advice reads: “You’re more likely to keep doing it if you enjoy it.”

According to The NHS, The Mayo Clinic and WebMD, the eight best exercises to lower your cholesterol are:

  • Walking (or try the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office)
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Using an exercise machine at low speed
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Playing a favourite sport

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