Nowadays, almost all of us already know about the role of exercise and physical activity in maintaining physical fitness and improving muscle strength and stamina. On the other hand, we also already know that exercise and physical activity can prevent many illnesses. However, only few people already know that exercise and physical activity have a great role in reducing cholesterol levels, which in turn will also reduce heart attack risk.
There is a difference between exercise and physical activity. Physical activity is muscle movements that require energy expenditure greater than in resting condition. On the other hand, exercise is a physical activity which is planned, repeated, has a clear structure and specific aims. Therefore, the benefits of physical activity will be seen significantly when it is carried out specifically. For example, a housewife who said that doing housework is consuming a lot of energy will get less benefit from physical activity than other who specifically had planned to do brisk walking every evening.
It is known that high cholesterol levels are risk factor for heart attack. Cholesterol, especially the bad cholesterol (called low-density lipoprotein, LDL) at high levels will accumulate in the blood vessel walls. It will lead to the formation of plaque which may cause blockage in the blood vessels. If the blockage occurs in the coronary arteries, the blood flow to the heart is reduced, resulting in a deficit of oxygen and nutrition supply to the heart muscles.
A large study in United States showed that regular exercise and physical activity with moderate intensity lower bad cholesterol levels by 3.7 – 5.0 %. Moreover, good cholesterol (HDL) levels, which plays a role in removing bad cholesterol from blood vessels, also increased by 4.6%. These numbers are the highest and latest finding in impact of physical activity on cardiovascular health.
In addition to increase the heart and lung capacity, exercise and physical activity also decrease heart rate, blood sugar levels, and increase sensitivity of insulin (hormone that play role in regulating metabolism). Beyond regulating blood sugar, insulin also regulates fat metabolism. Thus, increased insulin sensitivity will result in decrease of cholesterol levels, as well as improve in metabolism profile.
For people who have had heart attack and other heart disease, or for the elderly, exercise and physical activity is still recommended because the benefits are also obtained on these groups. However, intensity and frequency of exercise for these groups should be adjusted by medical professional.
In conclusion, regular exercise and physical activity with moderate intensity reduce bad cholesterol levels, so that it also reduces the risk of heart attack. Let’s start exercising and move NOW!
Posted: January 19, 2016 at 11:35 am