At Wellview Health, we are in the midst of on-site biometric screenings, and we have many participants seeking out ways they can improve cholesterol. Though there are some non-modifiable factors such as genetics and gender, we can do our part through modifiable factors such as body weight, diet, physical activity and cutting out tobacco. Today’s post will explore how exercise can improve cholesterol, particularly your HDL level.
Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, aim to work in at least 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes, three times a week. Can’t find time or stamina for 30 straight minutes? Try for 15 minutes twice a day.
Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight, which could also cause improvements to cholesterol. Consider:
- Taking a brisk walk during your lunch hour or after work so that you miss commuting rush hour
- Riding your bike or walking to work
- Walking laps around the sports field or parking lot during your children’s sporting practices
- Playing a favorite sport such as tennis, dance class or swimming
To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group to increase accountability. Having difficulty motivating yourself? Consider working with a WVH health advisor to explore goals and a plan that will help you make movement towards healthy cholesterol levels.
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– KEELEY MEZZANCELLO, MS, RD, CSCS