When we are still kids and young adults, not many of us pay special attention to our health. Of course, if you get a runny nose or stubborn cough, you visit the doctor. But what happens if you develop a condition that’s not so obvious?
Doctors generally advise that regular blood tests should be done once a year – for healthy individuals – to ensure that everything is normal. However, sometimes those tests can point out an underlying problem you might weren’t even be aware of. For instance, high cholesterol is among top health risks people are usually not even aware they have.
That said, let’s see what is high cholesterol and how you can work on lowering it without necessarily having to take medication.
What Is High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid that is normally found in our bodies. It is produced in our livers and serves the purpose of forming cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D. By its nature, cholesterol can’t be dissolved in water, which means it can’t travel through your bloodstream on its own. Here’s where lipoproteins come into play. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are also known as “bad cholesterol”. If there’s too much LDL in your blood that means you have high cholesterol. What’s interesting about high cholesterol is that it typically causes no symptoms. But if left untreated, it can lead to various health issues, including a stroke or heart attack. That’s said, it becomes quite obvious why you should take action as soon as you learn that your cholesterol levels are high.
How To Choose Exercises?
According to research, the best exercises for lowering your cholesterol levels are the ones that focus on burning fat. However, that doesn’t mean you should be focusing solely on them. Instead, combining different types of exercises will have numerous benefits on your body as a whole. For instance, CrossFit is a great type of exercise that not only improves your overall health but it also builds up your stamina and strength. The best part is that you can start CrossFit no matter what your current level of fitness is. So, learn more about this lifestyle and find a local CrossFit gym where you can start off on your journey towards a healthier body. Make sure you get the right workout equipment as well and invest in a pair of high-quality shorts for CrossFit, to ensure that you stay comfortable and well-supported throughout your exercise.
More Time Outdoors
On the other hand, if you prefer doing exercises that allow you to spend more time outdoors, you will have plenty of options to choose from. Walking, jogging or running are all very beneficial when it comes to outdoor exercises for lowering cholesterol. Depending on your age, fitness level and joint health, you can choose to do any or all of these. Not only will they improve your health by lowering your cholesterol levels but they also do wonders for your respiratory health. Alternatively, if you prefer biking, you can also indulge in this activity. Cycling will require as much energy as jogging but it’s a bit easier to do. This makes it a perfect workout for people whose joint health is not at its best. The best part is that simple cycling to work and back will have a significant positive effect on your overall health. Swimming and other exercises performed in water can also be a great choice.
If none of the above-mentioned workouts sound too appealing to you, you can still try something else out. For instance, yoga – although low-intensity – can really improve your health. Some studies connect high cholesterol with stress. Individuals that are generally more exposed to stress have been shown to have higher cholesterol levels. So, if you choose to practice yoga and become a bit more mindful, chances are you’ll get your cholesterol levels down to an acceptable state. You can also choose to combine yoga with some of the aforementioned exercises and work out both your body and mind. Resistance exercises can also help get your body in shape – both inside and out, so you can consider them as well.
Of course, exercising is great no matter what your end goal is, but do know that simple exercises will never be enough to get you to where you want to go. Instead, you should try and alter your entire lifestyle that lead you to where you are now. What this means is that you will also need to change your nutritional habits, if you’re hoping to improve your health. Fried foods, fast food, highly-processed foods – and especially meat, are all directly related to high cholesterol levels. So, it would be wise to avoid these as much as possible and even entirely cut them out of your diet. On the other hand, not all high-cholesterol foods are bad. For instance, eggs, cheese, organ-meats and full-fat yoghurt contain high levels of cholesterol but they’re actually very nutritious and good for you.
The Importance of a Good Night’s Rest
Finally, sleep is another very important factor that many people ignore for some reason. According to research, both too much and not enough sleep can affect the lipid levels in your body. Since we’ve already discussed the importance of lipids, it becomes obvious how their varying levels can affect your cholesterol. Not enough sleep may lead to increased levels of LDL cholesterol. Not only that but individuals who exercise on a regular basis but don’t get enough sleep are doing more harm to their bodies than good. Too much sleep can have very similar results. Moreover, the quality of your rest also plays a huge role. As an example, snoring is directly related to lower levels of HDL, or “good cholesterol”, which is certainly something to keep in mind.
In the end, you can see that the most important thing you should do is go for regular checkups and get your body moving. No matter which of the aforementioned exercises you choose, you’re bound to notice positive effects sooner rather than later. Aside from that, make sure you eat and sleep well, to allow your body to heal and reach optimum health levels.