Amount of exercise- a key in cutting cholesterol
When it comes to lowering cholesterol, the amount of exercise a
person logs is more important
than the intensity, researchers report. If you're a woman aged 40-60, it's
especially important that you begin to exercise right away to lower the risk of
developing heart disease. Normal blood cholesterol level is less than or
200mg/dl, with 35mg/dl or higher level of HDL. Desirable LDL level is less than
130mg/dl and should not go beyond 160mg/dl.
The study of previously sedentary, overweight adults found that more exercise
was better than less, with high amounts of intense activity--the equivalent of
jogging about 18 miles a week--showing the strongest effects on participants'
cholesterol levels." Women who have exercised regularly have better cholesterol
profiles than those who remain inactive." according to Dr. William E. Kraus as
said to Reuters health.
According to Kraus, at least as far as cholesterol is concerned, it may be the
amount of exercise that's really important. Among study participants who
exercised relatively less, his team found no clear cholesterol differences
between those who exercised intensely and those who engaged in moderate
activity-- although both groups had more healthful cholesterol levels than those
who stayed sedentary.
What's more, active participants saw these cholesterol benefits while losing
only a little weight. This shows that exercise can create heart-healthy
changes "inside the body" even when the benefits are not yet evident on the
outside, according to Kraus, a cardiologist at Duke University Medical
Center in Durham, North Carolina.
"People should not get discouraged if they're not losing weight," he said,
noting that factors like increased muscle may keep exercisers from seeing much
of a difference on their bathroom scales right away. Kraus and his colleagues
report their findings in the November 7th issue of The New England Journal of
Exercise has long been promoted for its cardiovascular benefits, one of
which is thought to be more healthful cholesterol levels. But studies have
yielded inconsistent findings on whether exercise, on its own, really does boost
"good" HDL cholesterol and lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. One question has
centered on the amount and intensity of exercise needed to affect cholesterol
and other cardiovascular factors.
In the current study, 111 middle-aged adults with elevated cholesterol were
randomly assigned to an inactive "control" group or one of three exercise
groups. One group, the "high-amount/high- intensity" group, logged the
calorie-burning equivalent of jogging 17 or 18 miles a week. The two
lower-amount groups completed the equivalent of jogging (high-intensity) or
walking (moderate-intensity) about 11 miles per week. All of the exercisers used
machines such as treadmills and stationary bikes.
After about 8 months of regular exercise, the high-amount/high-intensity group
showed increases in heart-friendly HDL cholesterol, as well as the greatest
improvements in components of LDL cholesterol. The HDL boost was seen only in
The implication, Kraus said, is that "any exercise is better than none,
more is better than less, and inactivity is bad."
He also noted that lesser amounts of regular activity may bring cholesterol
benefits like those seen with high amounts of intense exercise, but just may
take longer to do so.
"The study...provides a ray of hope for those who find it easier to
exercise than to lose weight," writes Dr. Alan R. Tall of Columbia
University in New York.
The best way to lower your high blood cholesterol is to eat foods low in
saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, be more physically active, and lose
weight, if you are overweight. Women who spend as little as 1 hour walking each
week can cut their risk of heart disease in half, researchers report.
According to a study reported on Mar 21, 2002 this year by
Reuters Health ,Walking, even at a moderate clip, reduced heart disease risk
among nearly 40,000 women, including those who smoked, were overweight and had