Yes, exercise also helps lower cholesterol: this is how you can do it

The cholesterol It’s one of the cardiovascular risk factors more important. Carry one healthy diet low in saturated fat and make exercise on a regular basis are key to help reduce it, rather, to help lower the levels of the so-called bad cholesterol ‘LDL‘. Yes, physical exercise, also in this, is essential.

Of course, another of the keys, in addition to diet and exercise, is that patients strictly follow their medication, if indicated. These three things are essential to keep a good control of cholesterol, which we have surely neglected during Christmas.

Thus, and according to data from the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC)during Christmas, “cholesterol levels can rise up to 10%due to copious meals rich in fat, and alcohol consumption that alters levels, which is especially worrying for 50.5% of the adult population, in Spain, which has hypercholesterolemiathat is, cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dl.

“What we popularly call cholesterol is a set of fats with different compositions that enter our body. Sometimes they can be ingested through the diet (by eating red meat, cheese, butter or fried products) and also synthesized in our liver,” he explains. to Dr. Victor Josep Girbés Ruiz, Vithas Alzira cardiology coordinator and member of the Spanish Society of Cardiology and Valencian Society of Cardiology and of the Valencian Heart Institute (INSVACOR).

“The body is capable of burning these fats to produce energy. Thus, when performing intense physical activity, these fats are broken down to provide energy for our muscles, therefore physical activity reduces cholesterol levels, especially if it occurs intensely and regular”, adds the expert.

Physical activity reduces cholesterol levels, especially if it occurs intensely and regularly

Likewise, and as explained by the FEC, in this publication recent, the Frequent physical activity helps keep risk factors in check cardiovascular, helping to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as raising HDL (popularly known as good cholesterol)”.

In addition, and according to said publication, physical exercise carried out on a regular basis also helps to keep other risk factors cardiovascular such as: diabetes, hypertension (it is currently the main risk factor in the Spanish population) obesity and stress.

This is the exercise that helps reduce cholesterol

Before entering fully with the explanation, the first thing that we must take into account, and this is indicated by Dr. Girbés, is that “all exercise is better than none”.

In fact, the expert points out, “some studies indicate that even people who do small exercises such as walking 20 times down a long corridor (the so-called micro exercises) are in better condition than those who do not move from the chair.” Therefore, we insist: all exercise will be beneficial.

However, and to obtain benefits at the cardiovascular level, including that of reducing cholesterol levels, as pointed out by the aforementioned publication of the FEC, “we must practice at least between 150 and 300 weekly minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or the equivalent in intense activity: between 75 and 150 weekly minutes. It would therefore, and in general, be the same as indicated by the physical activity recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Ideally, between 75-150 minutes of intense exercise per week should be carried out, combining both types of exercises: aerobic and strength,” says Dr. Girbés.

In the case of having had health problems or suffering from cardiovascular risk factors, “it will be the cardiologist who tells us which exercises are the most appropriate for us and with what intensity. It is also important to note that supervised home exercise is also effective.

So the general recommendation should be that “patients move, and the more the better. And even better, if they combine different types of exercise,” insists the expert.

  • Aerobic exercisessuch as walking, riding a bike, swimming, running… We can choose the exercise that we like the most (because that way we will do it more regularly and we will have more desire to do it) and that is supervised by our doctor, in the case of having cardiovascular risk factors.
  • strength exercises, which should be done at least twice a week. As we explain in this ArticleFor example, it is enough to go up and down stairs, do squats with our own body or incorporating some heavier object… Or those more specific exercises that a professional indicates.

“Combining cardiological advice and supervision by physical activity professionals and sports and physiotherapists is the one that has given the best results in order to implement the exercises safely and effectively. Together we can prescribe the right exercise for each patient. This is what is done in units of Cardiac Rehabilitation“, says the doctor, such as INSVACOR (in Valencia) of which he is a member.

Finally, we cannot forget that in addition to exercise, we must take into account other factors essential to help reduce cholesterol levels: carry a healthy diet (“follow a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, oily fish and natural products, always using olive oil for cooking”, details the doctor), as well as “avoid tobacco and try to control the stress“.

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