Aerobic Exercise Linked to Decreased Risk of Age-Related Cholesterol in Men

A recent study points to yet another benefit of making aerobic exercise a part of a regular fitness routine—especially for men: It may help delay the onset of age-related high cholesterol.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, followed more than 11,000 men between 1970 and 2006. Samples of the subjects’ blood were taken and the men were also asked to perform aerobic exercise, such as taking a run on a treadmill. According to Reuters, “Men who could run longer and faster – signs that their bodies more easily deliver oxygen to muscles – also had lower cholesterol.”

The men who performed better on the fitness tests were more likely to also have lower total cholesterol levels, as well as lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “the bad kind of cholesterol” that can build-up in blood vessels and may cause blood clots and heart attacks.

The healthier subjects also showed higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “the good kind of cholesterol” that’s essential in maintaining lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

"The benefits of physical fitness in improving cholesterol levels are greatest in young to middle-age adults and tend to decrease gradually with older age," said Dr. Usman Baber, a cardiovascular researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

"These findings should reinforce the importance of young to middle-age men incorporating regular aerobic exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle," Baber, co-author of an editorial accompanying the study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, said in an email to Reuters Health.

According to Reuters, to achieve the fitness levels necessary to ward off age-related high cholesterol, “men should get 150 minutes a week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity…These activities might include walking, running, swimming or cycling.”

Exercise image via chefranden

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