High Cholesterol: How To Delay Or Prevent Age-Related Cholesterol Problems

A recent study published in the American College of Cardiology concluded that exercise reduces cholesterol in men. Cholesterol is a leading factor in heart disease.

In the study, doctors measured the following factors: total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of blood fat), HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol (total cholesterol level minus the good HDL cholesterol). They found that those who had the lowest overall cholesterol and the highest HDL, which is considered the good cholesterol, were the most physically fit. They concluded that exercise delays the rise in high cholesterol.

Dr. Usman Baber, a cardiovascular researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, was one of the doctors who wrote a supplement to the study. He stated to Reuters the importance of starting exercise early in life.

“The benefits of physical fitness in improving cholesterol levels are greatest in young to middle-age adults and tend to decrease gradually with older age. These findings should reinforce the importance of young to middle-age men incorporating regular aerobic exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Doctors also measured the fitness levels of those within the study and concluded those that had the optimal cholesterol levels exercised on a regular basis, achieving the current aerobic standards of 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise. This evidence was extrapolated on to women, suggesting that women could get the same results by exercising.

Those in the study were considered extremely fit because they exercised according to the current guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week. This averages out to about 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Suggested activities included walking, running, swimming, and cycling.

There were limitations in the study. For instance, doctors did not study the influence of drugs to reduce high cholesterol. Men who had suffered heart attacks or cancer or had cardiovascular disease at any time were excluded from the study. On average, each man in the study had at least three tests to determine cholesterol levels, as well as three tests to determine overall fitness levels.

Dr. Xuemei Sui, a researcher in exercise science at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, said exercise provided benefits at any stage.

“It does not matter how old men are when they exercise; they can benefit at any stage. Of course, the younger they start exercise, the later the onset of high cholesterol, especially before 60 years old when cholesterol tends to increase with aging.”

According to NewsMax, The study on high cholesterol took place from 1970 to 2006, and the data was collected from 11,418 men. It was released on May 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and adds to the growing body of evidence that exercise can help to both reduce high cholesterol and increase HDL, the good cholesterol.

[Photo Credit Cholesterol Guardian]