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Exercise can help 'good' cholesterol

3rd May 2010

A new study has found that regular exercise can modestly increase levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or 'good cholesterol'.

This type of cholesterol is regarded as good because it can protect against heart disease. 'Bad' cholesterol (LDL) can build up in the inner walls of the arteries that and can lead to heart disease.

Low levels of HDL cholesterol are a risk factor for heart disease.

The new research, from Japan, reviewed the results of randomised controlled trials published between 1966 and 2005.

The study included a total of 1,404 participants with an average age range of 23 to 75 years and an average study period of 27.4 weeks to assess the effects of exercise on HDL cholesterol.

Researchers found that in all the studies combined, HDL cholesterol increased by an average of 2.54 milligrams per decilitre in those studied who exercised compared to those who did not.

The minimum amount of weekly exercise that appeared necessary to change good cholesterol was 120 minutes, or 900 calories burned, according to the study.

Only exercise duration, and not frequency or intensity of exercise, was associated with a change in HDL cholesterol levels.,

The findings of the study, carried out by researchers in Tokyo, was published in The Archives of Internal Medicine.


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