Correct Exercise Could Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

That is important, because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans.

If you have high cholesterol, doctors will typically ask you to start some lifestyle changes.

One of the best ways to start is a little exercise.

Frank Cestare is a regular at Main Line Health and Fitness.

Exercise is a big part of his life, especially after some surprising results from a cholesterol test. "Well, it was climbing up. It was getting closer to 180, 190," he explains.

Frank knows a total cholesterol level below 200 is best, so he took his trainer's advice and combined an aerobic workout with weight training.

"And now, I have it at 154," says Cestare.

Cholesterol is found naturally in all parts of your body and your body actually needs it to function.

When there is too much it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries feeding to your heart and brain.

If these thick hard deposits of plaque stop blood flow to your brain, you can have a stroke.

If they stop blood flow to your heart, you can have a heart attack.

The good news is lifestyle changes can make a difference.

"The combination of cardiovascular work, running or walking quickly to take your heart rate up and strength training together will hopefully lower your overall cholesterol, while raising your good cholesterol. And that's the best of both worlds," explains Roger Schwab, of Main Line Health and Fitness.

Exercise also helps lower your cholesterol by promoting weight loss and by making your heart stronger, which leads to more efficient pumping.

Of course, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Even though the recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, that does not have to be all at once. If that is a problem for your schedule, try several shorter workouts during the day.

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