Exercise has numerous known health benefits, and as time passes more are being discovered.
One of the major things that can help cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes is regular, moderate to vigorous exercise. Studies have proven that exercise especially raises HDL (good cholesterol ) and can decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), although less so. In addition, one of the other benefits to exercise, namely weight loss, by itself will raise HDL.
How much exercise can be beneficial? The more the better, and the more vigorous the better. Unfortunately, mild-intensity exercise has not been shown to affect cholesterol levels.
The most benefit can be achieved by eliminating sedentary habits and a poor diet. Even without changing one’s diet, LDL can be decreased by 10 to 15 percent and HDL increased by 20 percent with moderate to vigorous exercise. Diabetes and high blood pressure can also be improved or even prevented with regular exercise.
Weight-bearing exercise, which includes walking, helps maintain bone density and therefore prevent osteoporosis which can lead to fractures, especially of the hips and spine.
Exercise is believed to help boost the immune system and prevent infections. Researchers also believe that it can lower the risk of developing cancers.
The latest studies also suggest that people who exercise regularly have a significantly decreased incidence of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you are not already exercising, you need to start at a low level and slowly and progressively increase. Check first with your primary care provider to evaluate your cardiovascular health.
An exercise regimen is a meaningful way of improving your health and preventing chronic diseases. Make the changes that will change your life.
William Abraham, M.D.
Dr. William Abraham is board-certified in internal medicine and has more than 30 years of experience. He is a TMC One provider who specializes in same-day/next-day appointments at the Wilmot location.