We have all heard that “lower cholesterol is healthier”, but the truth behind this common knowledge is more layered and complicated than simply getting your cholesterol to a goal number. To make a positive change, you need to raise your “good” cholesterol (HDL-C) and lower your “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C). There is research that exercise, like whole body vibration (WBV), can help you get your numbers where they need to be.

 

The connection between LDL-C and heart disease has been recognized the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute(1). In fact, there is evidence that reducing your LDL-C by just 1% corresponds to a 2 to 3% reduction in the risk of heart disease(2). Even more encouraging, is the fact that aerobic fitness and exercise programs, like WBV, have been encouraged as a means to reduce total cholesterol, while elevating "good" cholesterol. 

 

Cholesterol: An Important Role to Play

There is a variety of factors that influence a person's cholesterol composition, some within our control to manage, and some that are outside our control. Diet and exercise form a powerful one, two punch with the power to help you take charge of your cholesterol levels and make a positive impact on your health. In fact, studies have shown that regular exercise consistently lowers triglycerides(3), which helps to decrease body fat and lower the effect of triglycerides.

 

Women, Cholesterol and Exercise

From puberty until menopause, women benefit from naturally lower total cholesterol and LDL-C values. This natural protection, however, is lost after menopause when these values begin to mirror those of men(4). Cross-sectional studies confirm that active women have higher HDL-C levels than their sedentary counterparts. However, because of the variable effects of diet, body composition, exogenous hormone use, contraceptive use, alcohol consumption, and age, the specific exercise recommendations for increasing HDL-C have yet to be determined(5).

 

Regardless of your gender, prevailing evidence supports the concept that physical activity can slow the progression of heart disease, but, at this time, there is no research-based guidance for exactly what type of exercise will maximize the positive effects of exercise on cholesterol levels. Until specific recommendations are developed, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for frequency, intensity and duration of exercise are the most current and scientifically-documented exercise recommendations available.

 

In the end, reducing your bad cholesterol and raising your good cholesterol means taking proactive steps including diet, exercise and educating yourself on your risk factors. Adding whole body vibration is just one more way you can improve and protect your health.

 

1 Expert Panel. (1993). Summary of the second report of the national cholesterol education program (NCEP) expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 269, 3015-3023.

2 Goldberg, L., & Elliot, D. L. (1985). The effect of physical activity on lipid and lipoprotein levels. Medical Manson, J. E., Tosterson, H., Ridker, P. M., Satterfield, S., Hebert, P., G.T., O., Buring, J. E., & Hennekens, C. H. (1992). The primary prevention of myocardial infarction. The New England Journal of Medicine, 326, 1406-1416.

3 Martin, R. P., Haskell, W. L., & Wood, P. D. (1977). Blood chemistry and lipid profiles of elite distance runners. Annals of New York Academy of Science, 301, 346-360.

4 Heiss, G., Tamir, I., & Davis, C. E. et al. (1980). Lipoprotein-cholesterol distributions on selected North American populations. The Lipid Research Clinic Program Prevalence Study. Circulation, 61, 302-315.

5 Taylor, P. A., & Ward, A. (1993). Women, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and exercise. Archives of Internal Medicine, 153, 1178-1184.