High cholesterol: Best exercise to lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels

“Bad” cholesterol refers to the fatty deposits that stick to artery walls. An excess of the waxy material results in clumps narrowing arteries and restricting blood flow, forcing the heart to work much harder.

Elevated cholesterol levels is one of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

MedineNet explained cholesterol from the diet is absorbed from the small intestine, metabolised and stored in the liver.

When cholesterol is released by the liver, it doesn’t travel freely in the bloodstream, it has a partner.

Cholesterol is carried by lipoproteins, categorised by the cholesterol to protein ratio.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – also known as ‘good’ cholesterol – has more protein than cholesterol.

Low-density lipoprotein (non-HDL or LDL) – also known as “bad” cholesterol” – has more cholesterol than protein.

If your liver has too much cholesterol, on balance, you’re likely to have more LDL cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream.

When clumps of cholesterol build-up and arteries narrow (atherosclerosis), if the plaque ruptures a blood clot will form, which can cause a heart attack.

Bringing down the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the body is so important – it could save your life.

One relaxing activity shown to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels is yoga.

Researchers from the Department of Physiology at the Gulf Medical University assessed the health benefits of yoga.

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They enrolled 100 volunteers who had dyslipidemia (excess cholesterol levels).

People were randomly assigned to either the yoga performing group or the control group.

The yoga group practised yoga for one hour each day for three months. The lipid profiles of both groups were compared at the beginning and end of the experiment.

Data revealed that the yoga group showed a decrease in total cholesterol and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.

In addition, those who performed yoga for three months had an improvement in the amount of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol.

‘Good’ cholesterol is beneficial to a person’s health as it picks up excess cholesterol and transports it back to the liver.

From there, the liver can do its job to break down the excess cholesterol for it to be excreted from the body (via urine).

The researchers concluded: “Yoga, being a lifestyle incorporating exercise and stress management training, targets the elevated lipid levels in patients.”

A large study review, conducted by Harvard University, also came to the same conclusion.

By examining controlled trials, they found that those who practised yoga showed significant improvement in LDL ‘good’ cholesterol.

Moreover, the research team also noted less ‘bad’ cholesterol was present in the yoga practising groups.

These results were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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