Have started heart healthy diet to try and lower my LDL count. Beginning to start regular excercise and am curious as to how excercising increases HDL, and if there are certain excercises that can be more beneficial???
Great job beginning a heart healthy lifestyle! Being physically active is a key part of successfully lower cholesterol, so you're on the right track.
There is no simple answer to how exercise raises HDL. From what I've deduced from current research is the following: HDL is increased when levels of cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) are low. One study shows a CETP to be reduced about 10% after exercise. So, there could be some relation between the two, but much more research is needed before they no why exercise increases HDL. There could be a whole different set of enzymes, proteins, and genes involved.
Aerobic activity (jogging, swimming laps, biking) is needed to raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
There was a good study published in 2007 that narrowed down how much exercise is needed to significantly increase HDL - at least 120 minutes a week. Also, vigorous activity is no more effective than moderate activity, but the longer your duration of activity the better the result.
Let me make that easier to understand. Exercising 30 minutes versus 20 minutes does more for raising HDL. Exercising 40 minutes versus 30 minutes does more for raising HDL. For each extra 10 minutes you spend jogging on the treadmill, it's estimated HDL increases 1.4 mg/dL.
There's an article here at Health Central discussing the findings of the 2007 study - - Long workouts best for raising good cholesterol.
This was a great question!
All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
The Heart of Health ezine