In the last post we looked at what the cholesterol numbers and ranges mean. You also learned that you can go after the enemy, cholesterol in this case, through a variety of ways, including exercise. Sure, some people may just opt for a prescription drug, a statin, in order to lower their cholesterol. But honestly, that does nothing to address the problem, it’s merely putting a bandage over it. The best thing to do is address it head on, and being a personal trainer, exercise is an area that I’m urging you to focus on!
First, it is important to realize how exercise is going to help you improve your cholesterol numbers. It’s a two-fold process really, because:
Exercise will help you lose weight and improve overall health, leading to a reduction in your LDL, or lousy, cholesterol levels.
Exercise will raise HDL, or healthy, cholesterol levels. This will help to protect your heart and keep your body healthy.
So now you know the virtues of exercising and what it will do to improve your cholesterol numbers. Here are my professional recommendations for getting started with an exercise program:
Your goal should be to do cardio exercises (those that get your heart pumping) 3-7 days per week, with a goal to burn 1,500-2,000 throughout the course of the week.
Your intensity level should be between 40-70 percent of your VO2. Your VO2 is the oxygen consumption, or your cardio-respiratory fitness level. There are online calculators that will help you determine this rate.
Start out by doing two short sessions that are 20 minutes each, then progress to two sessions that are 40-60 minutes each. You can start with low impact exercises, such as walking, bicycling, or general gardening.
Be sure to include some strength training into your schedule. You should be doing this 2-4 times per week, working every major part of the body. Do 10-15 reps for 1-3 sets.
Start out with the machines targeting flexibility. Do it just enough to feel the stretch and hold it for 10-30 seconds. This is a good way to involve static active stretching into your routine.
So are you ready to be the kind of senior citizen that forgoes the statins and uses exercise and other lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol level? Great! Start out by doing these exercises above, and before you know it, you will see some improvement. Not only will your numbers be better, but you will surely see other positive results as well!
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