Age-Friendly Exercises to Lower Cholesterol Levels

exercises to lower cholesterol

Older adults are more likely to develop high cholesterol levels, as they can continue to rise in our bodies as we grow older. Given that a high percentage of cholesterol is harmful, it’s important to find ways to keep it low.

Understanding cholesterol guidelines for seniors can help older adults prevent or manage these levels.

While physical exercise is highly beneficial to the health of all individuals, for older persons, the right kind of exercise is essential as it helps them stay strong to keep up with their bodies’ changing needs.

Seasons Retirement supports residents in their journey to becoming as healthy and active as possible. At Seasons, residents are encouraged to participate in regular exercise classes to help ensure a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

Check out these age-friendly exercises to lower cholesterol levels.

What is cholesterol? How does it affect us?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the bloodstream that sticks to our arteries and helps our bodies create new cells, aids in food digestion, and produces vitamins.

Cholesterol is often separated into two categories: Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL).

Known as the “good cholesterol,” HDL helps eliminate harmful cholesterol by sending it to the liver before transferring it out of the body. HDL also offers protection from cardiovascular problems.

On the other hand, LDL is dangerous when it exists in large concentrations in the human body. It can narrow the walls of our arteries, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. For this reason, LDL is called the “bad cholesterol” and should be kept as low as possible.

High cholesterol levels may be caused by a range of factors, including stress, excessive consumption of alcohol or foods containing saturated fats, smoking, lack of regular exercise, and lack of proper sleep. Genetic factors could also play a role.

The cholesterol guidelines for seniors in Canada recommend regular medical tests for women who have reached menopause or are older than 50 and men older than 40.

Tests are especially advised for persons with high blood pressure or a history of cardiovascular disease.

Whether female or male, a healthy person must have an LDL concentration of less than 3.5 mmol and an HDL concentration greater than 1.3 and 1.0 mmol.

Exercises for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels

While measures to combat or prevent high cholesterol may range from changes in dietary and lifestyle choices to drug prescriptions, engaging in regular exercise to lower cholesterol remains the healthiest and most cost-effective option.

Some of these exercises include:

1.   Jogging

Jogging is an excellent way to keep your body in great shape. For older adults who are physically fit, jogging is an excellent exercise to lower cholesterol. Jogging can either be done indoors, on a treadmill or outdoors.

Priority should be given to distance covered rather than speed. It’s more beneficial to jog at a slow-and-steady pace for several miles than to sprint a short distance.

It’s important to remember that you should start with slow-paced runs over short distances if you are not used to jogging.

It’s also essential to get medical advice from your doctor beforehand to ascertain whether you should be engaging in this exercise.

To make your jogging experience more enjoyable, you can listen to music from your favourite artists while you’re engaging in this activity.

This may stimulate you and make jogging feel less stressful. You can also get a friend to exercise with you.

2.   Walking

If jogging is not an option, walking is another excellent choice to consider. Walking to lower cholesterol is highly recommended, as it can significantly increase HDL levels and boost general physical and mental well-being.

While brisk walks are advised, they are by no means compulsory. Walk at your best pace for as long as you can. Again, time spent on the exercise is better to prioritize than intensity.

3.   Cycling

Cycling is an effective exercise to lower cholesterol. This aerobic exercise strengthens your muscles, boosts endurance capacity, burns calories, and prevents the concentration of LDL in your arteries.

You can incorporate this exercise into your daily routine by biking around your house regularly. Cycling is ideal for those unable to carry out weight-bearing activities.

Cycling also helps protect your knees and other joints from arthritis.

4.   Swimming

Swimming is a great way to keep yourself safe from high LDL levels. It helps burn calories and improve body flexibility and fitness.

Water aerobic exercises such as arm curls and flutter kicking are also helpful.

5.   Resistance training

This type of exercise involves the use of tension to strengthen muscles. This tension may be provided by gym machines, weights, gravity, or resistance bands.

Resistance training is designed to improve balance and strength. It also burns fat and, therefore, reduces the risk of a high build-up of “bad cholesterol.”

You should carry out stretching exercises before and after every workout session to maintain physical flexibility.

6.   Yoga

Yoga is a vital exercise to lower cholesterol. It aids relaxation and reduces stress that contributes to high cholesterol levels.

Other exercises that help prevent a build-up of LDL are dancing, hiking (mainly uphill), and rope jumping.

It’s recommended that older persons spend at least 30 minutes of their day engaging in physical activity.

Final words

So how exactly will exercise lower cholesterol? Exercise helps people shed weight as their bodies burn fat for energy.

Losing weight significantly reduces one’s risk of developing high levels of LDL. Furthermore, exercises increase the regularity and the power of heartbeats, strengthening the heart and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Regularly engaging in physical exercise helps older adults remain healthy, active, and energetic, allowing them to lead more independent, happy, and fulfilling lives.

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