Blood cholesterol levels are an important indicator of heart health. High cholesterol (fat in the blood) can cause serious and fatal side effects. Heart disease is one common negative outcome of high total cholesterol, and is the cause of 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States. Knowing the amount of cholesterol that is running through your veins can help you find the motivation you need to explore and implement necessary changes to your lifestyle.
If you are over 20 years old you should be having a lipid panel performed every 5 years regardless of your known health status. High blood cholesterol is rarely symptomatic until its too late. If you are one of the millions of americans who has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, then now is the time to make dietary changes and implement consistent exercise to avoid health problems that may loom in the not so distant future.
We have 3 types of “bad fat” and 1 “good fat” in our blood. Bad fats include Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) and Triglycerides. These are considered non HDL cholesterol. The one good fat, or High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), has the important job of removing the bad fats from the blood and transporting them to the liver for processing. Many americans have very low HDL count and high Non HDL count, which is why so many of us suffer from heart disease.
You’ve heard the term “hardening of the arteries”. When HDL is low, it can not move enough bad fat to the liver. Non HDL cholesterol begins to line arterial walls and turns into a plaque. This causes narrowing of the arteries and blocks blood flow. When the plaque gets thick, it may rupture. A blood clot will form to repair the arterial wall. If the rupture itself does not cause a heart attack, the blood clot is likely to.
While genetics play a role in blood cholesterol, both bad and good cholesterol are greatly affected by exercise. If you have not worked out in the last 6 months, start progressively with 20-30 minutes of light to moderate aerobic activity 3-5 days a week and build up from there. Don’t rush it and jump back into a rigorous program which may cause injury and heart issues. It is best to begin with brisk walking or stationary bike riding, and move on to more rigorous activities like running, basketball, kickboxing or tennis as you feel your aerobic capacity becomes more capable. Always consult your physician before beginning an exercise program, and if you have already been diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease, then you should discuss the possible need for clinically monitored exercise with your doctor.
For those of you who exercise regularly but still battle cholesterol, keep it up and do it as often as possible! Triglycerides and HDL levels are those effected most by exercise. Recent studies show that triglyceride levels drop for up to 48 hours post exercise and HDL levels increase immediately after an exercise bout. This means that if you work out consistently you are constantly working with lower levels of bad stuff in your blood, and higher levels of the good stuff. No medication can do this for you, so its time to tie up those sneakers, put up your dukes and fight for your health with exercise!
Eating heart strong is critical for your health in so many ways. Read more on that subject HERE.
A heart healthy lifestyle has a bounty of benefits. From feeling better to looking better to living better, heart healthy choices are here for us to make each day in almost every way. Choose wisely what you put in your body and what you do with it. You only get one life. Take care of it and it will take care of YOU!
To your health, Coach Michelle
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Karen – Met Con Humpday
6AM Sunup Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – Met Con Humpday
8AM Sunshine Orinda Sleepy Hollow Co Ed PRIVATE Class – Coach James – Met Con Humpday
8:15AM Sunshine Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana & Coach Kristin – Met Con Humpday
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens only class – Coach Jentry – Met Con Humpday
11:00AM Cytosport In Trinity In Meditation – Coach Michelle (private class)
12:00PM Cytosport Next Level In Trinity – Coach Michelle (private class)