How Exercise Affects Your Risk for High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Exercise is a very effective way to reduce risk factors
coronary artery disease (CAD) and
high cholesterol. Regular exercise:
- Raises "good"
HDL cholesterol levels.
- Can help
overweight people lose weight.
blood pressure in some people.
Added benefits of regular exercise include:
- Mental well-being and stress
- Increased flexibility, if stretching is done
- Increased bone strength, if the exercise includes
weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging or lifting weights.
To get and stay healthy, do activity at a level that is right for you—moderate or vigorous. Try to do:
- Moderate activity for at least 2½ hours a week. One
way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
Moderate activity means things like brisk walking, brisk cycling, or ballroom
dancing. But any activities—including daily chores—that raise your heart rate
can be included. You notice your heart beating faster with this kind of
- Vigorous activity for at least 1¼ hours
a week. One way to do this is to be active 25 minutes a day, at least 3 days a
week. Vigorous activity means things like jogging, cycling fast, or
cross-country skiing. You breathe rapidly and your heart beats much faster with
this kind of activity.
It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more
throughout your day and week.
Customize your exercise program
according to your fitness level, the health of your heart, and your personal
preferences. Aerobic exercise (brisk walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling,) is
Some people, especially those who have a history of CAD,
should discuss their exercise plans with their doctors before starting a
vigorous fitness program.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology|
|Last Revised||June 29, 2012|