Benefits of exercise for high cholesterol

3 May, 2019

High cholesterol is when the blood contains low levels of HDL cholesterol, and high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which puts your heart at risk of developing blockages.

Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood and is essential for many metabolic processes. There are three main types: high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. HDL cholesterol is known as the ‘good’ cholesterol as it transports lipids back to the liver to be broken down and used. LDL cholesterol is known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol as high levels can cause it build up and create blockages in the blood stream. Elevated amounts of triglycerides in the blood have also been shown to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary heart disease.


  • Poor Diet – increased intake of trans and saturated fats
  • Low levels of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

How can exercise help?

Exercise is important in the management of high cholesterol as exercise has been shown to activate the enzyme responsible for developing HDL’s, and therefore increasing the amount released into the blood.

This means that the HDL’s reduce the amount of LDL’s in the blood, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Aerobic exercise has also been shown to utilise the lipids in the blood as a form of energy, which can assist in reducing LDL levels.

Exercise for High Cholesterol

How much exercise?

The amount on exercise necessary to instigate the health benefits in terms of cholesterol is very individualised and therefore it is recommended that you consult an allied health professional before beginning exercise. The basic physical activity guidelines according to the Heart Foundation Australia includes:

  • Progressively increase physical activity to approximately 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 times weekly.
  • These amounts may be accumulated in shorter bouts of 10 minute durations and built up over time.
  • Include a combination of aerobic (walking, cycling, etc.) and resistance exercise.
  • When participating in resistance training, complete 8-10 exercises with 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 times per week.

So what now?

If you are interested in beginning exercise and reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular conditions, book now by calling 1300 122 884, and a Generation Physio health professional can come to your home.

You may also like…