You just had your yearly physical...a few days later the phone rings...it's your doctor's office...the blood work is in and the diagnosis is made...you have high cholesterol. Now what? The diagnosis sounds bleak and you may think your only option is to start taking costly high cholesterol medications for the rest of your life. Fortunately for all of us, medications are not the only option to lower our high cholesterol. Before medications are started there is something we should all try first...exercise. Yes, that's right, exercise. Why...because exercise will help us lose and maintain our weight, excess weight being one of the main causes of high cholesterol.
If we can maintain a healthy weight we can begin to lower our high cholesterol. So why should we care about lowering our high cholesterol in the first place? Over time high cholesterol can lead to: heart disease, heart attacks and strokes...all of which, if left untreated, can kill us.
So it is important to lower our high cholesterol, but what do we mean by exercise?
Do we have to join a gym and lift massive weights like Mr. or Ms. Universe?
Do we have to do insane amounts of Pilates or Tybo like a fitness model?
Do we have to run mile after mile like we are training for the Boston Marathon?
No! No! No!
The answer to all those questions is NO! We just have to be more active. Research shows that as little as sixty minutes of moderate activity per week can yield health benefits. That's right, we don't have to start cross training for an Ironman Triathlon to lower our cholesterol, we just have to move around and incorporate a little exercise into our daily routines. How much exercise? The official recommendation is thirty minutes a day, most days of the week. That's it? Yes, that is all we have to do, and it gets even better. We can spread those thirty minutes of exercise out over the course of the entire day. Yes, that is right, we don't even have to do it all at once. As long as we do thirty minutes of exercise a day most days of the week, we are covered. So what kind of exercise are we talking about? Any type of aerobic exercise counts.
Walking, swimming, bike riding, jogging or anything else we like to do that gets us moving around. It can even be as simple as a ten minute walk during our lunch break or going a few extra blocks when we take our dog out for a walk. As long as we are moving, we are working towards the goal of high cholesterol treatment, which is to lower our cholesterol levels enough so we are not at risk for heart disease. So remember, high cholesterol medications are an option to lower our high cholesterol, but they are not the only option. Exercise can help us all reach the goal of high cholesterol treatment.
If we can be active for thirty minutes a day, we can lower our cholesterol.