Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
One of the checks your medical advisor will undertake regularly is your cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol leads to an increased risk of heart disease. What is cholesterol and why is it so important to keep a good cholesterol balance? Cholesterol is a waxy fat –like substance found in all your body cells. Not all cholesterol is harmful. Cholesterol is made in the body by the liver. It maintains healthy cell walls, makes hormones, makes Vitamin E and makes bile acids which help digest fat.
There are two types of cholesterol. High density lipoprotein (HDL), known as the good cholesterol, protects your body from disease. Low density lipoprotein (LDL), known as the bad cholesterol, is a fat like substance which clogs your arteries and leads to heart disease. Getting the balance right between HDL and LDL is important to reduce the risk of heart disease.
LDL is carried through the bloodstream attached to proteins. Excess cholesterol keeps circulating in the bloodstream and eventually builds up under the blood vessel linings. This build- up narrows the blood vessels and may even block them leading to coronary heart disease.
Exercise is one of the best ways to lower your cholesterol. It helps lower or maintain weight. Excess body weight increases the amount of LDL in our bodies. Exercise helps expel the LDL from our bodies. Research has shown that exercise can lower LDL, the bad artery clogging cholesterol by 5% - 10% and increase the good HDL cholesterol by 3% - 6%.The more vigorous the exercise the greater the benefit in lowering cholesterol.
Walking has many health benefits. It keeps bones strong, reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes and stroke. It controls weight keeping obesity
at bay and improves our mood. Walking is an excellent aerobic exercise which helps condition the heart and improve circulation. Walking burns fat and cholesterol is a type of fat so walking can reduce the bad cholesterol levels and raise the good cholesterol levels.
Although the frequency and the amount of time spent exercising is more important than the intensity, exercise is only one of the things you should do to lower LDL .You should also eat healthy foods, quit smoking, and drink alcohol in moderation and lose weight if necessary.
Reduce the risk of heart disease by making a commitment to exercise. Build walking into your lifestyle. If you are new to walking
build up your distance slowly. Set yourself an achievable goal
–5 to 10 minutes walking every day. If you have neglected your walking in recent times why not restart your walking program.
Enjoy your walking and feel the difference !