Exercise Does Not Lower Cholesterol

Exercise has many benefits. One thing it can’t do is lower cholesterol.

Effects Of The Amount And Intensity Of Exercise On Plasma Lipoproteins, New England Journal of Medicine, November 2002.

Total Cholesterol (mg/dl)

Control Group: Baseline: 205.7, End of study: 208.3
Low-Amount-Moderate-Intensity Group: Baseline: 193.2, End of study: 194.1
Low-Amount-High-Intensity Group: Baseline: 202.3, End of study: 206.4
High-Amount-High-Intensity Group: Baseline: 202.7, End of study: 203.1

LDL Cholesterol (mg/dl)

Control Group: Baseline: 135.8, End of study: 138.2
Low-Amount-Moderate-Intensity Group: Baseline: 121.6, End of study: 125.3
Low-Amount-High-Intensity Group: Baseline: 131.6, End of study: 135.2
High-Amount-High-Intensity Group: Baseline: 130.1, End of study: 128.2

There was some benefit in other less-important lipid fractions. Notably, triglycerides decreased in all exercise groups and HDL improved but only in the high-amount-high-intensity group.

These were 111 sedentary, overweight men and women. They exercised for 8 months. Their total cholesterol didn’t budge.

If you want to lower your cholesterol you have to change your diet.

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