Exercise correlates with long life, better health, less depression and better memory. Another medical study published recently also found that even if you have a favorable lipid panel (your cholesterol numbers), exercise is more important than having an ideal weight. That is good news for overweight people struggling to lose the excess body fat.
Just because your “cholesterol numbers” are right-on, it doesn’t mean you can stop taking walks and eating a low fat diet. This study shows strength training is also beneficial.
HDL is high density lipoprotein, the favorable form of cholesterol that acts as a transport molecule removing the LDL (bad cholesterol) from narrowed arteries. HDL has other functions including reducing inflammation, a strong component of coronary artery disease which is the number one cause of death in adults.
We want the HDL high and the LDL low. The levels can be improved through exercise, medication and proper eating but the new information is —even if the HDL is in a favorable range, strength exercise training improves its ability to transport LDL and reduce inflammation.
This information reaffirms the importance of exercise for heart health and longer life, but researchers specifically looked at how well the HDL functioned in fit vs. unfit young men. They examined 90 men of varied weights and exercise patterns. Measurements included: body size, fat composition, muscle strength, carotid artery thickness (increased in heart disease). Laboratory studies included: blood fats, insulin, inflammatory markers and sex hormones.
Regular weight training appears to improve HDL function and reduce the risk of heart disease even in overweight men. Additional studies have shown the importance of many forms of exercise in heart health.
Important basics of heart health:
- Quit tobacco use
- Normalize blood pressure
- Treat abnormal cholesterol levels
- Low fat diet and weight management
Betty Kuffel, MD
Source: American Physiological Society (APS) (2013, October 9). When it comes to the good cholesterol, fitness trumps weight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com